How to Write Recruiting Messages to College Students and Grads

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Trying to write recruiting messages that will engage and win over college students and recent graduates?

We asked business leaders and HR professionals for their advice. From featuring how your company can provide a good living to being transparent with compensation and training structure, here are 13 tips to help you connect with college students and graduates.

1. Highlight the Potential for Earning a Good Living

There seems to be this perception out there that all college students are rich, spoiled, and only interested in becoming famous on social media. While there is some truth to those stereotypes, most college students are just regular people like everyone else, and the one thing they all have in common is that they’re looking for opportunities to make money. If you can position your recruiting message in a way that highlights the potential for earning a good living, you’ll have their full attention. Show them how your company can help them reach their financial goals, and you’ll be way ahead of the competition.

Matthew Ramirez, CEO, Paraphrase Tool

2. Communicate a Sense of Care and Internal Promotions

Recent graduates are looking for a workplace that cares. There are many jobs out there, and recent grads are being more selective than ever when choosing where to contribute their talents. They want to feel supported and experience a sense of belonging on their team. Keep these factors in mind when crafting your outreach message. You want to showcase why your company is an exciting place to work, along with the training and development opportunities that you offer. College students are eager to find companies that promote from within, so ideally you want to also paint a picture of what the growth potential can look like at your company.

Katya Hoodikoff, Senior Recruiter, Houzz

3. Draft Messages That Engage and Inspire

Prioritize personalized communication. Avoid generic messages and invest time in understanding your audience to craft tailored messages that address their interests and career aspirations. Show genuine interest in their backgrounds and highlight how your organization can provide value. Keep messages concise, compelling, and transparent about the benefits of joining your team. Consider incorporating multimedia elements for increased engagement. Personalization, relevance, and authenticity are vital in attracting interest in your recruiting efforts.

Jeffrey Pitrak, Marketing & Account Manager, Transient Specialists

4. Focus on Your Strengths

Attract applicants by making your recruiting messages straightforward and impactful. Introduce your company to applicants to entice them to apply for your open positions. List the open positions and their corresponding job descriptions and mention the benefits of working for your company.

Michelle Siy, Content Writer, Oliver Wicks

5. Send Personable Messages

Make sure your recruiting messages are personable. This means using a human greeting such as "Hello!" or “"”Hi!" instead of a generic salutation like "Dear Candidate." Additionally, try to use language that is relatable to the individual you’re addressing, making it easier for them to connect with the message. Utilizing these tactics can help create an experience that feels tailored specifically for each candidate, thus increasing engagement and creating an overall better impression of your company.

Curtis Anderson, Co-Founder & CEO, Nursa

6. Provide Social Proof

I believe social proof is an effective strategy for recruiting messages. Include testimonials from current employees or data regarding the company’s success in your message. This will show college students and new graduates that others have had excellent experiences working with your organization, which will pique their interest.

Bruce Mohr, VP, Fair Credit

7. Make the Correspondence Relatable

Make the recruiting message relatable. Put yourself in their shoes and think about what would truly speak to them. It’s important to understand that college students and recent graduates are typically in the early stages of their careers and are looking for opportunities to learn and grow. They want to feel like they are making a difference and contributing to something meaningful. So, when crafting your message, it’s crucial to highlight how the role or company can help them achieve these goals. Use language that feels natural and familiar to them. Avoid using jargon or overly technical terms that might be intimidating or confusing. Instead, use simple and direct language that is easy to understand. Remember, the key is to connect with your audience. Show them you understand their aspirations and are offering an opportunity that aligns with their values and interests.

Kimberley Tyler-Smith, VP of Strategy & Growth, Resume Worded

8. Provide Stability

Focus on stability. It’s a myth that new professionals want to job hop. Gig work is tiresome and makes it difficult to settle down. Gen Z is looking for stability (they’ve seen enough upheaval to last a lifetime). So, while you don’t necessarily need to promise a lifetime position, consider emphasizing a multi-year contract. Your competitors might offer a year or less, and you can set yourself apart this way. Too many companies overlook the value of a long-term placement for recent graduates. Young people aren’t as antsy as the stereotypes portray.

Tim Walsh, Founder, Vetted

9. Offer Mentorship Programs and Research Projects

Emphasize how the role can speed up their career growth. An uncommon approach for crafting these personalized communication pieces is to highlight experiential requirements that pique the interest of young professionals, such as offering an extended period of mentorship or access to interesting research projects. College audiences value these types of additional experiences, and this may pique interest in joining your team.

Grace He, People & Culture Director, TeamBuilding

10. Create Customized Recommendations

Write messages that speak to their values, aspirations, and career goals. Candidates want to feel that their skills and interests are a good match for your company. Personalized messages that speak to their unique experiences and goals are more likely to resonate with them. You can use the candidate’s name, mention their school or major, and highlight any relevant extracurricular activities or interests. According to a survey by Accenture, 75 percent of students and recent graduates prefer personalized job recommendations based on their interests and experiences.

Himanshu Sharma, CEO & Founder, Academy of Digital Marketing

11. Showcase Your Company Culture and Values

Highlight your company culture and values. College students and recent graduates are often looking for a company that aligns with their values and offers a positive work environment. By highlighting your company culture and values in your recruiting message, you can help college students and recent graduates see why your company is a great place to work and help them envision themselves as part of your team. This can ultimately help you attract top talent and build a strong, engaged workforce.

Ralitsa Dodova, Content Writer, Buzzlogic

12. Show Enthusiasm for Their Potential

Demonstrate enthusiasm for their abilities. Inform them that you are enthusiastic about the abilities and expertise they bring to the table and that you believe they have great potential. This will boost their confidence and excitement about the prospect of working with your organization.

Gerrid Smith, Communications Manager, Property Tax Loan Pros

13. Be Transparent with Salary and Career Progression

College students and recent graduates face a challenging path in the current economy and marketplace. Amid all the uncertainty, one of the best ways to captivate their attention as a recruiter is to be open and to the point about salary range and career progression. The first gives the potential candidate a vision of security, as they can imagine their near future better. The latter allows students or recent graduates to envision their future further, which is important at this stage of their lives and careers. This adds to the sense of security and fuels their ambition. Such a tactic will set your messages apart from other recruiters, as transparency this early on in the funnel is not yet common practice. Your candidates will surely appreciate it.

Nicole Cobas, Career Expert, ResumeGenius

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