A squat yellow chair in the shape of a hand attracted students passing through the J.C. Williams Center on Sept. 26 to a presentation on Handshake, Franciscan University of Steubenville’s newest networking platform.
Paul Henley, an intern with Career Services and senior psychology student, shared about the history of Handshake as a company and walked his fellow students through painlessly creating a Handshake account via AccessFUS.
The idea for Handshake was born in 2013 when a handful of college graduates noticed that certain students lacked the career opportunities available at bigger, wealthier schools. Handshake intentionally aims to help students find jobs after graduation.
“Their primary value is … students first,” said Henley. “Every single decision they make is going to target that niche market, which is taking care of students. Everything they do is going to be for your benefit.”
Over 250,000 employers utilize Handshake, including Amazon, Catholic parishes and organizations and every company on the Fortune 500 list. Specialized search engines yield precise results for any need, from biology research internships to youth ministry positions, and over nine million students from 550 universities and colleges have used Handshake’s networking technology to further their careers.
“You’re here to succeed (and) Handshake is a tool to help you succeed after college,” Henley said.
Some workshop attendees took detailed notes on how to set up the perfect Handshake profile, while some even used their laptops to follow along in real time and create their own accounts. Career Services team members stayed after the workshop to answer questions and offered personalized help to multiple students. Though the turnout was small, every student left feeling better equipped and more confident moving forward.
Yet, however perfect it may seem, Handshake is not a replacement for other forms of networking. Henley emphasized the importance of continuing to use LinkedIn, which is still used by companies who hire new employees on a regular basis, as well as visiting the Career Services office for help with networking, resumes and job interviews.
Henley said that his two biggest tips were to “use the opportunity of Career Services” and their networking capabilities and to “clean up your Facebook.” Companies care about the public image of their employees, making it important for students to put their best foot forward in every aspect of life.
Ian Vasquez, a sophomore who came to the workshop at the invitation of a friend, said that the presentation “was very informative, and it got my foot in the door to do what I should be doing. It was extremely helpful.”