November 01, 2019 | By Ainsley Maloney
TAGS: branding and marketing, employer relations
NACE Journal, November 2019
This is a companion piece to “How to Create Visual Emails That Increase Student Engagement and Recruiting Success.”
In general, promoting the company or position is all it takes to get students’ attention. However, sometimes that is not enough. In such a case, we focus our email on other perks students care about, such as:
Generous vacation packages.
Flexibility for work-life balance.
Pay. We call out hourly rates and the salary, if it is above $50,000 per year. For internships, we also note if housing or travel stipends are included. (Note: Commission does not tend to have a positive association with our students, so we avoid it.)
Convenient location. Students are always wondering how they will fit an internship into their class schedule, so if the company is 15 minutes away, we’ll call that out. This sounds obvious, but on the job board, the company’s location may say “Philadelphia.” If the zip code tells us it is much closer—in the neighborhood of East Falls or Manayunk—we’ll highlight its proximity.
Exciting location. For summer internships, we will call out desirable destinations.
Student loan debt repayment assistance or tuition reimbursement.
The company’s mission is sustainable or environmentally friendly—or off-site volunteer events are a part of the culture.
The company has a strong connection to the university. Students are sick of applying to a “black hole” and never hearing back. Students get excited to know that an employer is likely to hire from our university, so we call that out. For example, we announced that 85 percent of the employers coming to our Design Expo have hired a Jefferson student in the past three years. (We get that information from our event registration form.)
Perks their parents didn’t have: Free gym memberships, nap rooms, game rooms, and dogs allowed at work are all perks students love to discover.
Hidden perks: Some positions fall flat no matter what we try. In this case, we usually dig deeper to uncover hidden perks. In one case, the CEO of a local nonprofit came to us seeking interns for work groups focused on pharmaceutical security and regulations. Interns would be unpaid but would get great exposure to CEOs from national companies who are also on the work groups. So far, we had an unpaid position—a tough sell—and a boring-sounding internship open to “all majors.” We needed to find a perk that would attract students.
First, we identified a few majors to target (health sciences, pre-med, and law and society). As unpaid internships don’t attract our upperclassmen, we asked the CEO to consider taking on freshmen—a group eager for internships but who rarely qualify. He agreed, adding that no experience was needed because he offers thorough training; he also mentioned he would reimburse their travel expenses. We told him “work groups” would mean nothing to students and asked about the company’s mission. He said its ultimate goal is to ensure patient safety. Got it! That’s a mission students care about.
Here is the “call out” language we used in our marketing email:
Want to intern at a Philly nonprofit with a mission to ensure patient safety?
Freshmen wanted! (No Experience Needed)
Travel stipend included!
Join us for a 20-minute “speed session” with the CEO.
The results: The CEO onboarded three interns—all students from our university. He told us he considered us his No. 1 target site to recruit not just interns, but any opening he had in the future.
Ainsley Maloney is the associate director of industry relations at Thomas Jefferson University’s East Falls campus.
Percent of institutions that offer stipends for low- or underpaid internships
Percent of institutions that collect demographic usage data
Percent of institutions that have implemented career readiness competencies institution-wide
Percent of career centers experiencing a change in reporting structure over the past year
2022-23 Career Services Benchmarks Report