Would your business consider recruiting, much like major sports teams do?  Why not?  Isn’t the sentiment the same?  Sports teams search for potential talent, whether it’s in tennis, football, baseball, track and field, gymnastics, etc.  Why can’t SEO, social media, link building, and other varieties of business startups recruit potential talent as well?  I think it may become a growing trend; and, some savvy college kids are making the decision a no brainer.

A Wall Street Journal article traces the daily, business actions of local college students from across the nation.  They’re not lining up for fraternities or ultimate Frisbee; they’re signing on as volunteers for marketing firms.  College is a place for learning what you want to do in the future.  What better place to dip your feet in the ever-growing waters of the Web?

So what’s the motivation?  Why are college students engaging in a variety of efforts, including guerilla marketing – putting up posters, scrawling brand names of chalkboards and wearing commercially-driven t-shirts?  Are they getting paid in cash or college credits?  No, they’re in it for the experience, for the opportunity to showcase their triumphs on future resumes.

Our own online marketing industry hosts a copious number of younger professionals; but, companies are reaching for individuals who are pre-working-world, those who are well experienced with computers, tools, and trends, which had members of the older generation playing catch-up.  Why do fresh faces place focus on Web startups?

“A startup is a great thing to be part of because you feel like you’re making a difference,” says one female student.    Are they making a difference?  Some startups track the successes of college students, those who can put a ‘cool’ spin on a startup’s brand.  Stylistics, a new, fashion-social site, created a college-kid ambassador program.    The site allows members to create an account consisting of their clothing.  Other users share fashionista advice with followers.

The company makes information anonymous, and then sells data to particular clothing retailers for future reference.  Guess what?  College-ambassador participants are getting their high-school-aged siblings to participate too.  Stylistics is considering using the ambassador approach with high school students?  Where does the blue-chipping stop?

What do you think about the ambassador program?  Is it a good idea or is leveraging unpaid students ethically questionable?  At present, it seems college students have no qualms participating in various efforts to make strides for startups and possibly pave ways to future full-time and paying jobs.  In the very least, there is some compensation, the occasional free swag.  As one student celebrates, “We get cool stuff.”