Elon uses app to help students get jobs
Once a semester, the Student Professional Development Center (SPDC) hosts the Job & Internship Expo for students to interact with companies about potential internship and employment opportunities. On March 12, 2015, around 80 employers represented their companies from all over the country in Alumni Gym. Almost 900 students attended this semester’s expo. With this many students and company representatives interacting in Alumni gym, this kind of set-up can be confusing and intimating for some students.
Using a mobile app for the expo
In order to help make the Expo a worthwhile event for students, the SPDC launched its own Elon Career Fair app, available to download on any smartphone device. SPDC staff member and the primary expo organizer, Kristin Walker, says that the SPDC created the app so students can see what off-campus jobs and internships are available while on campus.
“[Students] think, there’s nothing for me.” Walker said. “We were hoping the filters would show there are opportunities available.”
This app includes a number of filters and features. Features include the ability “favorite” certain companies from the full list, view the map of where companies’ booths are located, and read up on expo tips. Filters allow students to create a custom list of companies relevant to their academic department or by position type.
According to the app’s Google Analytics report, Google, the Curtis Media Group, and Blue Corona were among the top ten favorited companies. Companies such as Vanguard, GlaxoSmithKline, and American Forests were among the top ten company details viewed.
Students see pros and cons of app
Senior communications major Kally Lavoie found the app useful in navigating the expo. “I used the app to check out companies which I had maybe overlooked,” Lavoie said.
The data shows many students seem to agree with Lavoie. About 950 students downloaded and used the app this semester. The most popular actions included over one thousand views of expo tips, and almost 900 views of the expo map.
Junior Shannon Prenetta, however, felt like the app could have been improved.
“It didn’t truly help.” Prenetta said. “Unfortunately, the information on the app was more general then what the companies tended to be looking for.”
Prenetta’s complaints are not a surprise to the SPDC, who did face challenges in deciding how much information to include.
“It was a challenge,” Walker said. “Figuring out what is the most useful information….not too much, not too little.”
To overcome this and other issues, the SPDC has joined a network of other universities in the local area to study how they are using similar applications. Universities such as UNC Greensboro and NC State use other schools’ apps to learn how to improve their own. Walker believes this is a trend that will continue to grow.
Potential Elon apps in the future
If Elon’s Job & Internship Expo app was successful, who’s to say an app wouldn’t be useful for other events on campus?
Sophomore Tierney McDonnell sees Elon using apps as a benefit for the university as a whole.
“I think Elon would benefit if they did create apps like this for other events,” McDonnell said. “It would help people feel less overwhelmed.”
The confusion and chaos encountered during popular events such as the organization fairs and orientation weekends could be transformed for the better thanks to unique Elon apps.
A 2014 study by comScore, a digital analytics company, shows that mobile apps usage is now higher than computer usage or mobile web usage, alone accounting for 52 percent of digital media usage by Americans. With many activities and events on campus, mobile apps could play a role in many ways at Elon. Using an app to spread information could help push Elon farther as an innovative university. The SPDC is taking a step in the right direction of leading Elon in this new direction.