How to Attract the 59.3% of Students Who Are Willing to Do a Virtual Internship

Virtual legosIt is estimated that roughly 1.54 million jobs have been created over the last year due to technological innovation. Not only is innovation creating jobs but it is changing how those jobs are done.  With more jobs going digital, virtual internships—those that can be done remotely—have become increasingly commonplace.

In a recent study by InternMatch surveying over 100,000 students, we discovered that 59.3% [1] of students are willing to take a virtual internship.  Students still prefer to work in an office, but many desire internship experience in any form; and as a digitally-savvy generation, most do not mind working remotely.

However, students are still predominantly using locations when conducting their online job searches.  This raises the question that many employers are struggling with in this increasingly digitalized era: “where should I post my roles online to get the best virtual candidates?” In this post we will be using Google, US News, and InternMatch search trends to help employers determine the best possible locations to post virtual roles.

Google Trends Data (searches for “internships”)

An estimated 42% of students now begin their internship search on Google.  Below is the data for U.S. cities with the most Google searches for “internships[2]”—an indicator of general student interest and the size of the candidate pool in these cities.  Basically the five cities below are the best places to post if you have a role that nearly any student can fill or if all care about is eyeballs.

1)   Boston

2)   Washington DC

3)   New York

4)   Philadelphia

5)   Los Angeles

US News Rankings

Knowing the cities that get the most student search traffic is great, but knowing which cities are best for your specific virtual internship is even better.  Ideally you will want to target cities and states with the highest concentration of top universities for majors and programs related to your virtual internship offering.

The graphs below show the 15 states with the highest number of top 100 business, marketing, engineering, and computer science programs.

Top Business Programs


California, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania are tied as the states with the greatest number of top business programs in the country. We recommend advertising your business internships or entry-level jobs in Los Angeles (6 nearby top business programs), San Francisco (2 nearby top business programs), Boston, or Philadelphia.

See our guide on how to write a business internship posting!

Top Marketing Programs


If you are looking for marketing students to take on a virtual role, consider listing the opportunity in Pennsylvania metropolitans such as Philadelphia or Pittsburgh. Although New York and North Carolina have the same number of top marketing schools, University of Pennsylvania has the best undergraduate marketing program in the country.

See our guides on how to hire marketing interns and social media interns!

Top Engineering Programs


Looking for a savvy engineer? California is home to the greatest number of top 100 engineering schools in the country. It is interesting to note that Southern California has more top 100 Engineering programs than Northern California. If your goal is to reach more top engineering students, post your role in Los Angeles.

See our guide on how to hire engineering interns!

Top Computer Programs


California has the most top Computer Science programs in the US. As is the case with engineering programs, Southern California is home to more top computer science programs than Northern California.

See our guide on how to write an engineering internship posting!

InternMatch Data

Last up is the data from InternMatch student searches. Although the rankings vary slightly, you will notice a fair amount of overlap between the InternMatch and Google data, reinforcing the importance of posting to these top cities. If you are an employer planning on posting a virtual role on InternMatch, we recommend that you select one of the cities below to increase the volume and quality of candidates you receive [3].

NY Searches:  9428 total monthly student searches for “New York Internships

Chicago Searches: 5528 total monthly student searches for “Chicago Internships

San Francisco: 4927 total monthly student searches for “San Francisco Internships

LA Searches: 4919 total monthly student searches for “Los Angeles Internships

Boston, MA: 2649 total monthly student searches for “Boston Internships

Washington DC: 1966 total monthly student searches for “Washington DC Internships

In conclusion:
Deciding to host a virtual intern, getting your team’s buy-in, and building a great virtual internship program, is all only half the battle.  Finding a great intern who is organized, passionate about your company and culture, and who can succeed in the role will make or break the position.  Posting in the above cities tips the odds in your favor and is something we highly recommend you do.
(Photo Credit: Creative Commons License fdecomite via Compfight)

[1] InternMatch Survey Data

[2] Please note that these are search queries from an all-encompassing audience, not simply students. The next section will give you some data from student searches on InternMatch’s platform.

[3] If you want some help with this, feel free to reach out to someone on our team

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Nathan Parcells

Nathan Parcells is VP of Marketing and co-founder of Looksharp. He has spent the past decade helping students launch their career, researching best practices for hiring millennials (including running Looksharp's annual "State of College Hiring") and sharing these insights with employers. Nathan's work has been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, Business Insider and more. Outside of work, Nathan is an avid rock climber, back packer and Bob Dylan fan.