Mary Grace von Thron, Campus Carrier deputy news editor
The Center for Personal and Professional Development (CPPD) recently launched Handshake, a career management platform.
Students can use Handshake to find jobs and internships, schedule appointments with their career liaison and learn about different career related events.
“No matter where you are in your personal and professional journey, there is something on here for you,” Marc Hunsaker, dean of personal and professional development.
Once students create a Handshake account and set up a profile, they are able to reach out to employers and have employers reach out to them. This is very different from other career management platforms such as LinkedIn, where it’s mainly up to the person looking for a job to connect with an employer. On Handshake, employers have the ability to search for certain demographics, majors and colleges when looking for an employee.
Students can also house their professional documents such as their resume on Handshake. digital marketing designer Maddie Fox said that this feature will be beneficial for students to have a place to store all their professional documents. Students are also not limited to post only one version of their resume on their profile.
“If you have different versions of your resume, you can put multiple copies on your Handshake,” Fox said.
Another aspect of Handshake that differs from LinkedIn is that Handshake is very much geared towards college students and recent college graduates. Employers that post job openings on Handshake are specifically searching for new college graduates that are applying to entry-to-mid- level job positions.
“When you’re on LinkedIn there’s a whole lot of noise that you have to sift through because you’re not going to be qualified for a lot of jobs,” said director of the career development center Sue Tarpley. “With Handshake, you’re pretty much guaranteed that these are going to be entry-level, graduate oriented kinds of positions.”
Students can also learn about jobs and internships that most appeal to them by setting search alerts on Handshake. When a job post is listed that matches a student’s search alert, they will receive an email notifying them.
“So you don’t have to check it every single day and make sure you’re staying up on it. It does the work for you.” said Hunsaker.
Several other colleges and universities have started using Handshake as well. While the content and features that Handshake offers do not differ from college to college, schools using the app Handshake have the ability to tailor different kinds of events to particular populations that best fit the student body.
Before switching to Handshake Berry used, College Central Network as a career management platform for many years. Conversations about switching over to Handshake had occurred over the past couple of years in the Career Center, and as time went on, more and more colleges began to make the switch to Handshake.
Sue Tarpley said “When there are 900 colleges and universities who use them, you can’t not know about them because everyone is talking about Handshake and how they use it to help their students.”
Hunsaker was very familiar with Handshake when he came to Berry, as the previous college he worked at was an early adopter of the app. This allowed him to see how it would develop and grow over time. When he began working at Berry last fall, Hunsaker conducted a thorough examination of the system that Berry had been using and comparing it to Handshake.
After much examination and consideration, it was decided that Handshake would replace the previously-used College Central Network.
“It became clear pretty quickly that the network that handshake offers is a major selling point because it’s the number one system that some of the top employers all across the country and world are using,” Hunsaker said. “So that gives our students access to all of those employers as well.”
When campus shut down last spring due to COVID-19, it became apparent to Hunsaker and Tarpley that they needed a better way to connect with students virtually and have more of a seamless experience with finding jobs and internships.
“We felt that Handshake could offer that opportunity to students,” said Hunsaker.
To access Handshake, students can visit berry.joinhandshake.com, choose the single sign on option, login with their Berry email credentials and begin creating their profile. There is also a Handshake app available on the Apple Store.