By Joan Stewart
When college student Miles Ritenour attended a job fair last year and learned that WordWrite Communications, a small PR firm in Pittsburgh, Pa., was looking for a virtual intern, he knew he wanted the job and did everything possible to get it.
Ritenour already had met Paul Furiga, president of the firm, but he didn’t know anything about the corporate culture. So he did the next best thing.
“The moment I sent in my resume, I started following the company on Twitter and Facebook,” said Ritenour, a senior at Point Park University where he is majoring in advertising and PR. “This allowed me to learn a lot about the company that I would be potentially working for, and it kept me updated during the interview process.”
It paid off.
He got the unpaid internship. Furiga and his firm got the PR intern of their dreams, and social media, once again, proved to be a valuable tool for people looking for jobs and for companies looking for the perfect employees or interns.
“We knew when we met Miles that he would be ideal for this position,” Furiga said. “He not only has the passion and savvy for public relations, but also understands the new trends in social media. That coupled with his drive for success makes him a perfect fit for the virtual internship.”
Ritenour’s duties include building and updating media lists, compiling editorial calendars, updating the company’s Facebook and Twitter pages, moderating comments on those sites, and responding to them.
When WordWrite advertised the job, it decided to do so only on Facebook and Twitter. If enough candidates didn’t respond, they’d go to the job boards. Account executive Deanna Ferrari said just those two sites resulted in about 10 interested applicants. She offered this tip for other companies that are using social media to spread the word about their internships:
“Use hash tags,” she said. “We used #internship when we tweeted about it. People looking for internships could find us easily.”
Ritenour, who is also working as an intern for the Pittsburgh Penguins and graduates in May, has his own tips for fellow students who need internships:
“Follow the companies where you plan on applying,” he said.
And he has this advice for companies:
“Advertise internships and jobs on social media because it’s the best place to reach people from my generation.”