Though the fall semester is coming to an end, internship and job application season is right around the corner. In preparation, the Muhlenberg Career Center has resources available to help students, like the Handshake App.
Handshake is an online application Muhlenberg uses to connect students to potential employers. Despite being created in 2014, Handshake has become the leading database for Career Centers with access to over 300,000 employers across the nation. At Muhlenberg, 67% of the student body has already logged in, according to Samantha Hof, Director of Employer Engagement at the Career Center.
The Muhlenberg Career Center, located in the lower level of Seegers, began using Handshake in 2017 after it parted from Symplicity, a similar career-services application. The downside to Symplicity was that employers had to submit applications to each school individually.
As for Handshake, the app allows an employer to submit a single application that can go to all their 700 partnered colleges and universities. This model has clearly been successful – Handshake’s online community now includes 14 million students, according to their website.
“I work in the Career Center, so I learned about Handshake through their utilization of it,” said Emily Searles ‘19.
In the search for work experience, Searles was using the app to look for internships to get a head start into her career.
“Handshake led me to my internship at Seventh Generation (SVG). Even though I don’t want to go into Human Resources at this stage of my life, I still appreciate the opportunity to have explored the field through SVG,”
“Handshake led me to my internship at Seventh Generation (SVG). Even though I don’t want to go into Human Resources at this stage of my life, I still appreciate the opportunity to have explored the field through SVG,” said Searles.
But what makes Handshake different from job sites like LinkedIn or Indeed?
“LinkedIn and Indeed have every job that’s out there,” said Hof.
But with Handshake, postings can be more tailored for Muhlenberg.
“Some [postings] are jobs our employer contacts or alumni has said, ‘Here is what we are looking for and we want Muhlenberg students to apply,’” said Hof.
Additionally, the platform gives the Career Center the ability to approve or deny requests for postings. Anywhere between 50 to 100 positions a day are reviewed by the Muhlenberg staff. Therefore, postings are always relevant and to the caliber of Muhlenberg students.
The process to sign up is easier than one may think. Every student automatically gets a Handshake account. To get to the app, students can go through OneLogin, Muhlenberg’s application portal, where other applications, like Canvas and Capstone, can be found. Once logged in, the system is intuitive.
Students can customize their profiles to let the system know their preferences for internships or jobs in specific industries or locations.
The Career Center highly encourages doing this because it gives their staff more information to reach out to specific students. When positions come in, the staff can email students with preferences that fall under the position to see if that’s something they’d be interested in.
“Instead of receiving 100 emails a day, it’s more targeted,” says Hof.
Another tip to maximize the app is for students to set their private profiles to public. Students could be approached by an employer just by having a public profile. Handshake has also taken advantage of their large community by the recently launched Q&A, where students can ask students across the country for career advice.
But for those applying for an internship or job position, the process can be intimidating. That’s why the student page of the Career Center website provides resources and videos. Students can find guides on a host of career-related topics, like on resumes, cover letters and interviewing.
For some, one-on-one works better. That’s why students can schedule appointments outside of business hours to speak with Muhlenberg’s career coaches on Handshake. With winter break quickly approaching, students can use that time to connect with the Career Center to get a head start on their careers.
“It’s never too early to start,” advises Hof. “We are here and willing to work with everybody.”