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During college, students aim to network in order to find their dream jobs. Career Services is pursuing that mission through their new platform, Handshake.
Created by college students, Handshake aims to provide a simple-to-use interface, unlike many career-planning sites, according to Handshake Business Development Lead David Shull.
Career Services had this problem with Charger Connect, their previous platform.
“The feedback we received from students was the user interface was not friendly and clunky,” Executive Director of Career Services Michael Murray said.
Handshake, on the other hand, is clean and intuitive, according to Internship Program Coordinator Courtney Noonan.
“If you can use Facebook, you can use Handshake,” Noonan said. “It’s similar to the other platforms students are already using.”
Handshake also brings new and improved features.
Students can research and follow companies, and the more complete students’ profiles are, the better recommended job and internship results will appear, even from businesses specifically interested in Hillsdale students, according to Murray.
Opportunities to apply for jobs with your profile, set up meetings with the full-time staff, and upload your resume to the website, where Student Affairs Mentors can look over them and provide feedback, are also available, according to senior Student Director of SAMs Leah Bernhardson.
Handshake will also allow Career Services staff to input information from meetings with students, tailor emails to those with particular interests, create surveys to better receive feedback from students, and publish events for which students can register, according to Noonan.
Career Services is planning to upload their guides on career planning and resume building to Handshake too.
The staff is especially eager about Handshake’s mobile application.
“The last platform, students had to use the web, and scrolling on the web on your phone is kind of clunky,” Noonan said. “Everybody wants to use an app now.”
“It’s really handy for me to confirm appointments or when attending events,” Bernhardson said.
Three years ago when Ben Christensen, Garrett Lord, and Shull, then students at Michigan Technological University, attended a career advisor meeting, they realized the software being used was not meeting the needs of students. The idea of Handshake was born.
Teaming together, they designed a user-friendly software.
Having graduated in May, these students have implemented Handshake into five institutions and are continuing to grow partnerships with career websites that will feed more job opportunities onto the site.
“We’ve been blown away by the support,” Shull said.
The goal of Handshake is to help students find their dream job.
Shull said that students he knew were interested in working for bigger companies like Apple and Google, but since Michigan Tech is a smaller school, these businesses didn’t visit the campus.
“Regardless of what size campus you go to, you can connect with businesses that can’t come to campus physically,” Shull said.
According to Shull, relationships are key. Handshake representative Shull visited the Career Services’ Career Carnival earlier this year.
Having the opportunity to interact with students serves as a constant reminder to serve, Shull said.
Students shared their future goals at the carnival, and Shull said Handshake uses this information to better assist students.
Handshake is also working in close communication with the schools for which it provides its software.
“Hillsdale has a really close relationship with the creators of Handshake, so anytime we need help doing something or need to learn a feature, they are always there with support,” Bernhardson said.
Career Services encourages students to use this resource.
“The more students that use it, the better we’ll be able to engage and improve it,” Noonan said. “It’s built by students for students.”

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Breana Noble
Breana Noble is The Collegian's Editor-in-Chief. She is a born and raised Michigander and studies politics and journalism. This summer, Breana interned in New York City at TheStreet, a business and finance news website. She has previously worked for The Detroit News, The American Spectator, and Newsmax Media. She eventually hopes to pursue a career in investigative journalism. email: bnoble1@hillsdale.edu | twitter: @RightandNoble