Handshake, a college career recruiting web program and smartphone app, has come to Weber State University. With over 475 university career centers and 200,000 employers in its wheelhouse, Handshake aims to transform college recruiting.
Katie Swainston, WSU Career Center’s technology and events specialist, shared why Weber chose to partner with
“Handshake is very user friendly, and it’s a lot more intuitive because it’s more based on a social media setup,” Swainston said. “The discovery feed of the jobs on the homepage is based off Netflix and Spotify in the sense that, ‘you liked jobs like this, these jobs may interest you.’”
Handshake and Weber State’s partnership began in August of 2017. From that time until the end of the year, there were 2,725 approved employers and 593 job applications initiated through Handshake. In the last 90 days alone, there have been 3,245 approved jobs and internships through Handshake.
Noel Wilkinson, advisor for WSU’s Nontraditional Student Center, sees benefits to Handshake for all students in the job market, particularly nontraditional students.
“Nontraditional students often are coming back to school either to complete an education with hopes of getting gainful employment in that area, or they’re looking to further education in an area so that they can progress or move through promotions,” Wilkinson said.
Wilkinson said Handshake should make it easier for nontraditional students to identify and connect with future employers and bridge gaps that may have previously existed between them.
“It seems like it’s a lot easier for students to find what they’re looking for. On the back end as well, it’s a lot easier for us to do what we need to here in Career Services,” said Swainston.
Swainston said while all students can benefit greatly from use of the Handshake program, juniors and seniors stand to gain the most from its use.
“Handshake is a really great place to find internships,” Swainston said. “Students can use filters like paid, unpaid, full-time, part-time, major, location and a lot of other things.”
Swainston added that there are resources on Handshake for current students who are looking to find part-time work to help pay for tuition, as well as meeting with guidance counselors for resume writing tips or choosing a major.
Caden Sumner, a student at Michigan Tech University, found success using Handshake.
“I got several emails from employers on Handshake without having to reach out to them first,” Sumner said. “Having an employer approach me made me want to research them more and engage in a meaningful application process.”
Some students feel they should wait until they’ve received their degree to search for jobs in their desired field. According to Wilkinson, that may be an antiquated mindset.
“It’s important to realize that jobs can be competitive and that students need to gain the needed skills for the jobs they’re looking for. Sometimes that comes through finding work or internships so they can learn the ropes on the job combined with the theory they learn in their classes,” Wilkinson said. He also said learning soft skills as early as possible is crucial, which often aren’t taught in classes.
“I definitely recommend that students target opportunities to gain some sort of work experience in the career field they’re looking for as early as possible,“ Wilkinson said.