I often hear from social work students and professionals who wished better internship opportunities were available to them. Many social work degreed students are finding that they are competing with communication and journalism majors, women’s studies, political science, public administration, and law students for social justice positions that have been traditionally social work roles.
Employers are beginning to view social workers from a child welfare or mental health professional lens which is preventing social work students from interning as social media community managers, community organizers, grassroots activism, digital strategist, and public policy positions.
I had the opportunity to engage in a lengthy conversation with Nathan Parcells, CEO of InternMatch, who appears sympathetic to the plight of the social work student in creating expanded opportunities. We also discussed how the social work skill set is transferable and may be highly desired by some of the companies he works with.
Nathan appeared open to new possibilities, and here is our conversation below:
SWH: Tell us a bit about your background, and what led you to create InternMatch.com?
Nathan: We started InternMatch when I was a senior at the University of Pennsylvania. I remember attending career fairs, searching online and seeing the same big brands names posting internships again and again. I quickly realized that there was no internship resource that reflected the diverse range of positions that truly interested my peers and myself. Beyond this internships had become the most critical gateway for students to break into new industries but most students were still relying on family and friend connections rather than having a tool that helped them apply to roles they wanted. We felt this had to change and decided to start InternMatch to create an easier place for students to search, find and apply to roles.
Nathan: We have all kinds of employers on our site from leading tech companies like Google, Facebook, Not For Profits like DoSomething, and DonorsChoose small startups like MindSnacksand Udemy to small businesses. Thousands of companies post with InternMatch. The cost for posting a 60-day internship is $99 and a 60-day entry-level job is $199 .
Ultimately, this is not very expensive because we focus on helping companies find students who truly fit their culture and role. We do this through our large community of millions of students, but also by working with 850+ universities at the department, club and even professor level. This deep focus on sourcing candidates helps ensure companies find quality matches, which ultimately far outweigh the cost of the posting itself.
SWH: How do students learn about the opportunities available at Internmatch?
Nathan: Students discover InternMatch in a variety of ways. As I mentioned we work with over 850 schools that directly promote InternMatch. In addition, over 42% of students start their internship search through a Google search and we are easily found this way by students. Lastly, students really like the clean and easy user experience our site offers. Because of this we see a huge amount of students coming to InternMatch via word of mouth and returning for many years as they find the site useful.
SWH: Are you willing or interested in being a broker with these companies to foster field placement opportunities for social work students?
Nathan: InternMatch is setup like a broker already. Companies are able to easily post roles and we currently have over 500 social work positions available all across the country. Meanwhile, students can easily save roles and searches they are interested in and apply for free. Our goal is to make all these positions easily findable and open to all students regardless of connections.
SWH: Would you be willing to make contact with the career coordinators at Schools of Social Work, in addition to the career centers with the university? Often those opportunities are not in the pool of field placements available to social work students.
Nathan: We are always excited to connect with career centers of various kinds and find the best way for us to share internships that are helpful for their students. We also are always happy to craft resources for career centers that are specific to challenges their students face. Students, employers and career centers can contact me at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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