How does an aspiring intern stand out in a sea of faceless applicants? Two years ago, film and TV production exec Shara Senderoff thought the answer was to do away with boring, paper résumés for good and replace them with Intern Sushi: a platform where interns could create video résumés that showcased their personalities and companies could easily manage and vet applicants. But even after placing 3,000 interns, Senderoff realized there are many opportunities for career advancement that don’t involve pulling together a résumé and hitting Apply, Apply, Apply.
“The changemakers and innovators don’t have résumés because they don’t need one,” Senderoff tells Fast Company. “They’re not necessarily rapid-firing pieces of paper out to get other opportunities. Those are the people we all want to learn from.”
So, starting today, Intern Sushi is rolling out an influencer program that will provide the most qualified applicants on the site direct access to various industry moguls like Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes and Philadelphia Eagles minority owner Christina Weiss Lurie. Influencers will host 30-day contests in which interns can enter their Intern Sushi profiles for consideration to earn an influencer-branded profile badge, which Senderoff describes as a more authentic LinkedIn endorsement. Each influencer will also pick one intern candidate for a one-on-one informational interview.
“If you don’t have a connection, you don’t have the tool to land these informational interview opportunities,” Senderoff says. “I wanted to create this influencer program because it helps kids land the big connections to the big leaders.”