“Handshake” Your Way Into A Career

By Julian Curet, [email protected]

Handshake, a job posting board in its third year at universities around the country, has replaced UA’s Career Link/College Central Network — which had over 5,800 participating employers. The new job board will, over time, add hundreds of new employers.

A few weeks ago, students received an email from the University of Akron Career Services office announcing the decision. Similarly, in the Student Union there was a large yellow hand wearing a FitBit promoting Handshake as well.

Laura Carey, director of Career Services, says that Handshake is a “connection tool” available to students and alumni.  Through Handshake, employers provide a range of opportunities like part-time and full-time jobs, internships, and co-ops.

Students can search locally, nationally, and internationally. Users can also research the companies or organizations and have the option of tagging favorites. There is also a messaging system through which students can contact employers or Career Services.

UA faculty members can also create profiles so they can discuss employment opportunities with their students.

Handshake is already synced with UA’s enrollment records, so students can use their existing login information.  A basic profile, that is connected to a student’s major, is ready to go.

When a student signs in for the first time they are taken through a short process of tailoring their profile in terms of where they would like to work, what skills they have, what activities they are involved in, and other pieces of information employers will see. The student decides which information to include.

Students can also upload their resume. Submitted resumes then go through an approval process in which Career Services makes sure all the necessary aspects are included. Career Services also offers in-person assistance with writing resumes. Meetings can be scheduled with the office through Handshake.

Events created by Career Services also are displayed on the job board. The Fall 2016 Career Fair, the Etiquette Dinner, and many other occasions give UA students the chance to learn how to conduct themselves in certain social settings and meet potential employers.  

Besides Handshake and resume-writing help, the office also offers mock interviews, self-assessment tools, and other ways to help students find employment.

Career Services conducted a survey of UA spring 2015 graduates and 95 percent of the class responded. Seventy-eight percent of those students are now employed full-time in their field, are in a job requiring a degree, or are continuing their education.  

Students can increase their chances of being a part of that success group by connecting with employers now instead of waiting until graduation. Right now, students who log in to Handshake at uakron.joinshake.com will be placed into a drawing for the chance to win a FitBit.