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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