@CommInternships: A Column on Journalism 2.0 Jobs and Internships #2 (@QUCommCareers)

By Steven Chappell

The best thing about running the @comminternships feed has been my virtual meetings with many of my followers. One of those followers, @QUCommCareers, has become a virtual mirror of the feed, particularly for students in the Northeast corner of the U.S.

The man behind the feed is Joseph Catrino, assistant dean of career services for the School of Communications at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Ct.  He was hired at Quinnipiac last March, and using social media to find jobs and to network on behalf of the students there has become a big part of his job.

“For me, that Twitter account kind of evolved,” Catrino said. “It was my personal account for years, and I took this position in March, and I am a big proponent of social media. I see it as an opportunity and a chance for students to find another outlet and another opportunity to market themselves.”

In other words, Catrino decided to practice what he preached and make certain the students he serves could see how this evermore important tool could serve them in their internship and job searches.  The feed was originally his personal feed, @jcatrino, but he changed the handle to @QUCommCareers in late 2011, and launched a second Twitter account under his old handle for personal tweets.  “I took the bull by the horns, and started to use my feed to promote career services and career opportunities,” he said.

As the feed grew, he realized he needed to separate personal from professional, which is advice any student seeking a career should take.  As a result, Catrino’s professional feed focuses on jobs primarily local for students at Quinnipiac, but he sometimes tweets jobs from across the country if he thinks his students will be interested. His feed has climbed to about 500 followers at the college, and student feedback has been mostly positive.

“They love it,” he said. “They love the jobs and they love the contacts.  I just got a message from a student.  The Intern Queen (@InternQueen) is coming to campus Feb. 8.  I sent a tweet promoting her visit, and one of my students tweeted back and said she found her internship through Intern Queen.”

Another internship component at the college is a five-week course he taught this past fall for students seeking internships and career advice.  When the class started, most of the students weren’t that engaged in Twitter, and those who were used it for personal, rather than professional, purposes. By the end of that course, however, that changed.

“I required them to connect their Twitter to their LinkedIn account and increase usage of both,” Catrino said.  “By the end, almost 100 percent were engaged in it.”

One thing he said he always looks for in the internships he retweets from @comminternships, @internqueen and other job-related accounts is location.  As he confirmed, “Most students won’t click on an internship tweet if they don’t know where the internship is.”

Chappell is the student media specialist at Iowa’s Simpson College.  As this column progresses, he aims to include profiles on regular contributors to the feed as well as followers of the feed.  If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for future topics, contact him through the feed @comminternships or via e-mail: steven.chappell@mac.com.

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