How to Handshake – Learn how Handshake can help you land a job or internship

Whether you are in college or a recent graduate, it can be intimidating to find a job or internship. Add in the interview process, steep competition, and salary and benefits conversations – it’s no wonder many students procrastinate on this important process.

Today, I’m excited to share highlights from my conversation with Katie Levinson, Head of Student Product Marketing at Handshake, to learn more about how it works.

Handshake is an “early career network” founded in 2013 to ensure that all college students have equal access to meaningful careers. To date, Handshake has over 600,000 employer partners, including all the Fortune 500 companies who pay to list internships and entry-level jobs. The platform is used at over 1,400 college and universities. Handshake subscriptions are offered to colleges and universities at a very reasonable cost and then made available to all students for free.

Here’s a recap of our conversation:

I’m on LinkedIn and have job searches saved there and on other sites like Indeed. Why should I bother with Handshake?

Great question! LinkedIn and other platforms can be very helpful for mid-level job seekers and individuals looking to change careers. But those sites are not designed for college students looking for internships or new graduates looking for entry-level jobs. This is Handshake’s main mission. Because of that, the site provides job search filters, blog posts, career advice, tutorials, and other important information designed specifically for you! The algorithm Handshake uses relies heavily on your skills and abilities and your job preferences and NOT on your networking connections because let’s face it – your networking skills aren’t so great at this point!

How do I get started with Handshake?

If your school partners with Handshake, check your email for instructions from the career center about how to activate your account. Can’t find the email or don’t know if your school uses Handshake? No problem! Look for your school in the drop down menu on Handshake’s main log-in page.

Once you find your school, just use your .edu email address to activate your account

I just graduated. Can I still use Handshake?

Yes, if you still have access to your .edu email address. If your access to this address has expired or you can’t remember your password to access that account, try contacting your school’s career center or alumni office. They can often reset your password and/or re-activate your school email address. As long as you have a .edu address you can create an account on Handshake even if your school isn’t part of the Handshake family.

OK, I set up my account and logged into Handshake. Now what do I do?

The very first thing you should do is build out your profile with as much detail as possible. The platform’s algorithm works best to match you with internship and job opportunities that meet your needs when it has the maximum information about you. If you are a current student and your school is a Handshake partner, chances are that your profile will already contain key details about you like your graduation year and major. Handshake has a great series of videos to help you get the most out of the platform as a new user. Also make sure you download the Handshake app.

I’m just a freshman. I’m not ready to find an internship or job. Should I still activate my Handshake account?

Yes! Handshake offers some great tools and advice for college students. Their blog includes guides to important employment terminology, tips for creating and refining your resume, career exploration opportunities, and much more. A new Handshake feature even allows students to sign up for one-on-one informational meetings with employer partners. This tool, along with the information available on the site, can help freshmen and sophomores discover majors and career paths they might not otherwise be aware of.

I set up my account last year but didn’t see anything of interest to me. Should I check again?

Absolutely! Handshake adds new features and employer partners all the time. If you haven’t logged on in a while, go ahead and take another look. Use some of the tips and suggestions here to beef up your profile, apply some filters, and start searching for opportunities.

I’m confused. Should I use Handshake or make an appointment to see a counselor at my school’s career center?

You should do both! Handshake is designed to partner with the services and expertise you’ll find at your college’s career center. You can think of Handshake as an additional employee of the career center who is available 24/7 and has direct connections to employers nationwide.

There you have it – how to Handshake. I recommend that my collegiate and recent graduate clients use this network to help them find the right fit for their first job.

If you’d like to learn more about my 1:1 coaching for young adults, sign up for an intro call here!