Handshake connects students and employers with ease

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Handshake is an online tool that Lehigh students can use in their internship and job searches. The resource has seen a 400 percent growth in the number of internships and full-time positions posted for Lehigh students, according to the Center for Career and Professional Development.

The site offers job and internship postings, on-campus interview logistics, career center appointment scheduling, event management, student targeted newsletters and more.

“I think it’s a good way for students who are clueless about applying for jobs and internships to get a better understanding of how the process works,” said Elliot Behar, ’19, who has used Handshake.

Karen Kuczynski, the director of career education in the Career Center, said when her office discovered Handshake, the staff immediately recognized the need for the platform to easily connect students with employers.

Kuczynski said approximately 65 percent of students have used Handshake this semester.

“First-years aren’t quite there yet, but when you look at the junior and senior class, almost everybody’s on there,” Kuczynski said.

Lehigh subscribed to Handshake in 2017, replacing LUCIE: Lehigh University Career Information Exchange. Over the past year since then, students have submitted over 55,267 applications to jobs, internships and other opportunities via the platform.

Alex Ross, ’19, has used Handshake to apply for jobs and sign up for on-campus events like career fairs. Ross said she finds the site helpful and easy to use.

“I think the ‘Easy Apply’ feature makes it simple to apply for jobs,” Ross said.

She has interviewed for jobs that she has applied to on Handshake, and said she thinks it’s an important tool for students to use.

Like Ross, Behar has primarily used Handshake to apply for internships. He has also found the site helpful for applying to leadership programs, which certain companies offer to sophomores and juniors. Behar said he feels as though these programs are not as well-advertised on Handshake and through the Career Center.

There are 500 universities across the nation that use Handshake. When posting jobs, employers choose which schools they want to post a job listing to. Kuczynski said when students apply for jobs via Handshake, they know the employer is already looking for Lehigh students, so there is a higher chance they will get an interview.

Kuczynski said  students can increase their chances of success on the platform is to use the “Jobs Recommended For You” feature. As a student engages with the site more, the platform recognizes students’ patterns and preferences. That learning makes the jobs listed under that recommended tab better tailored to the student.

As the Path to Prominence continues, the Career Center is thinking about ways to improve and become more equipped for all the changes to the university— including the addition of the College of Health. Kuczynski said the Handshake technology will make it easy to adapt to these changes. 

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