July 20, 2021 | By Kathryn Douglas
TAGS: best practices, recruiting methods, trends and predictions, network, recruiting, strategic planning, coronavirus, member voices
In February 2021, like career services teams everywhere, our office reworked a major employer/alumni recruiting and networking event scheduled for the spring from in-person to digital. We also continuously customized it according to rapidly changing factors. Ultimately, YSEinDC, an event that has been in-person since its inception, became Virtual YSEinDC.
With a small team of professional staff and student leaders, what is typically a two-day event became a weeklong one. Virtual YSEinDC kicked off with a career panel on Indigenous rights, development, and conservation, continued with four days of 20 virtual information/networking sessions with approximately 80 employer representatives, and was bookended by a virtual alumni/student networking reception co-hosted by our Alumni Services team. More than 110 students participated from multiple time zones.
Overall student feedback was generally positive, with one post-event survey respondent noting, “I was offered an internship by an org I met at YSEinDC. I knew it was a worthwhile event because they reached out afterwards to confirm that I had applied for a position that I expressed interest in.”
However, other students had a mixed reaction to the event, which was new for everyone. In addition, students were adjusting to hybrid and asynchronous learning environments while dealing with a high level of ambiguity and the very real effects of a global pandemic. The challenges of integrating career development with academic work was expressed in this feedback: “I really enjoyed the YSEinDC events but felt a lot of burnout trying to balance sessions with my coursework during the week. The level of engagement was varied depending on the organization, with some only leaving five minutes or less for questions at the end. However, these events exposed me to organizations and summer opportunities that I would not have otherwise known about, which is a positive.”
Another student expressed a high level of enthusiasm while noting the reality of the strain of virtual programming: “Even during this era of Zoom fatigue, each of the CDO-hosted events were fantastic and really well-done opportunities to network and gain insight! They helped a lot in the search for a summer opportunity!”
After reflecting on this experience, we were able to identify a number of lessons learned that could be helpful moving forward.
We would love to hear about your adaptations, innovations, challenges, takeaways and keepers! Please share in the comments.
Kathryn Douglas is senior associate director of Career Development at Yale School of the Environment.
Average percent of eligible interns converted to FTE
2021 Internship & Co-op Report
Average percent of eligible interns receiving a job offer
2021 Internship & Co-op Report
Mean hourly rate for bachelor’s-level intern
2021 Guide to Compensation for Interns & Co-ops
Percentage of employers who screen candidates by GPA
Job Outlook 2021 Spring Update
Percent of employers expecting to conduct “hybrid” internship programs this summer
Spring 2021 Quick Poll: Summer Internships and Fall Recruiting
Percent of employers who expect internship programs to have a virtual component
August 2021 Quick Poll: Fall Recruiting