There’s a lot of uncertainty going on right now, for all of us. With no end in sight, it can feel like things are never going to get better. One group of people really feeling the impact of COVID-19 right now is college students. If you haven’tseen the news, many college students and pending graduates are left scrambling to find opportunities after losing out on internships and job offers during this time.
I sat down with (virtually, of course) a 3rd year Virginia Tech college student paving the way for his peers, Naman Singh. Before COVID-19 made its appearance, Naman was already building an application management dashboard for students searching for full-time jobs and internships,MassApply. With an official launch pending for this fall and the help of another college student (Sana Ahmad), Naman decided to launch sooner so he could pivot the focus to help students.
Here’s a first-hand look at the interview with Naman.
Tell me more about MassApply and your current mission to help fellow college students and upcoming grads.
Naman: Searching for internships and jobs as a student is already a very difficult and stressful process. Now, because of market disruption from COVID-19, getting opportunities has become significantly more challenging.
The difficulties that my peers and I faced in our job search inspired me to build MassApply. MassApply is an application management dashboard for students searching for internships and full-time jobs. Our platform offers 300+ companies you can apply to, track your application status, and find recruiters. With our applications dashboard, students can stay organized and focus on being more proactive in their job search. MassApply is currently featuring companies that are known to be actively hiring as well as remote internships that remain unaffected during the pandemic. Our mission is to drive students to land opportunities to their highest potential.
What are you using Interseller for?
Naman: Interseller allows us to directly reach thousands of students with an immediate need for finding jobs and internships. We explain exactly how our product can help them, which drives many users to our platform.
How is Interseller impacting your mission?
Naman: Interseller has played an immense role in our marketing strategy for our initial release. The personalized and specific emails we send by the masses enable us to drive significant traffic to our site. Roughly 15 percent of contacts we reach out to become registered users on our platform.
Using Interseller with only 2 user seats allowed us to grow to 500 users in under a week, which we didn’t think was possible. We are very grateful that Interseller has granted us additional seats to help us reach an even greater number of students at a faster pace.
Can you walk us through step-by-step how you’re getting the word out?
Naman: We had our initial boost with social channels like Facebook and Reddit, but I also wanted to reach out to students directly.
I found several posts on LinkedIn related to finding internships, which often have students commenting with their email addresses for help. These students are the exact target market for our platform. I built a script that helps me scrape these emails and transfer all the newly found contacts to Interseller to begin the outreach process.
What do your emails look like?
Naman: All my subject lines directly mention the type of role they are looking for, which I know because of the LinkedIn post they commented on. I give a specific rundown of our platform, then offer to personally assist them in their job search. When following up, I ask for feedback to know how our platform is helping and if there are any new features we could build to improve the user experience.
It looks like you’re getting some early success from your email sequences, so we’d love to hear any tips and insights you have for other users.
Naman: Here are some tips and insights I’m applying that should be helpful to anyone, regardless of their mission.
Cater your emails to your audience. I believe our high open rates are the result of having a subject line that calls out contacts looking for a specific position. We are also casual in addressing contacts to come across more as a fellow student helping another student, rather than as an overly-polished marketing pitch.
When framing your emails, put an emphasis on what the other party has to gain from your business. Let them know you’re reaching out to help them.
Take advantage of Interseller’s contact fields. Repeated mentions of the contact’s name adds a personal touch that boosted our response rates.
What is the ultimate goal for you during COVID-19, and how will you measure success?
Naman: COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on early careers. Many high-profile internship programs have been canceled. Several companies have hiring freezes. Even full-time job offers to new grads are being rescinded. Our current goal is to help students displaced by the disruption get their careers back on track.
MassApply is currently featuring companies that are known to be actively hiring and remote internship programs that remain unaffected during the pandemic. We are basing our success on the number of users applying through our platform who receive interviews and ultimately land offers.
Here’s a look at some of the successful email replies I’ve received from college students since starting this initiative.
This person got an interview!:
How can others support you and this mission?
Naman: If you know any students actively searching for an internship or full-time job, send them over toMassApply. We’d also love it if you could share our posts on social media to get the word out. We are actively developing our platform by building features to directly contact recruiters and apply to more companies for more positions. To keep updated, sign up on our website directly.
We love hearing about unique and impactful use cases from customers like Naman. A special thanks to Naman for telling us about your journey with Interseller!