By Bridget Sjoberg | Staff Writer
Whether it be through resume building, job searching or finding information about career events on campus, Career and Professional Development (CPD)’s Handshake platform seeks to connect students with career information or to potential employers.
Handshake is a free resource offered to all Baylor students, who automatically have an account upon entering the university as freshman. Shelby Cefaratti, marketing and design specialist for CPD, described the platform as user friendly and as a way for potential employers to seek out Baylor students when open positions are available.
“I want to encourage students to use Handshake from freshman year on up,” Cefaratti said. “As soon as you come to Baylor, you have an account with Handshake and just have to sign in with your Baylor ID. It’s supposed to look like social media similar to Facebook or LinkedIn and be user friendly. It’s really important to complete your profile because employers and recruiters are looking in Handshake at Baylor to hire students. It’s specifically a platform for Baylor students—there’s handshake nationwide but it’s for each university. The employers we have in our account are looking specifically for Baylor students.”
Some useful features about Handshake include the ability to add experience and a resume to a personal profile that recruiters can see and to make appointments on campus with a variety of helpful services including: career advisements, mock interviews, resume building, career closet and more.
Additionally, there is a question and answer section about a wide variety of topics—questions include everything from “what skills do I need to succeed as a data specialist at IBM” to “how do I get a marketing internship at Google or a top PR firm.” There is also the ability on Handshake to look at other Baylor students’ profiles for inspiration or comparison, to find on-campus career-related events and to search for jobs by categories like location, type of work or internship.
San Antonio junior Alex Green appreciates Handshake’s user-friendly features, as well as the internship opportunities it offers for students.
“Handshake is pretty intuitive—it resembles LinkedIn, something I use often, so the similarity between the two has made it extremely easy to learn and use for me,” Green said. “I would say the internship postings feature has been the most useful for me since that’s mainly what I’m looking for during the semester. Knowing the opportunities is half the battle.”
Cefaratti encourages students attending career fairs to look up the employers that will be present on Handshake to be informed about open positions or what skills a company may be looking for.
“If you’re interested in a company, you can find out more about them and see what kinds of jobs will be available,” Cefaratti said. “You can do so much research on your own—if you go to a fair, you can see in advance what companies will be there and use Handshake to research them. When you go to introduce yourself, you can ask about specific positions being offered in a particular location which will make you stand out against the competition—those are the kind of things Handshake can do for you.”
Cefaratti wants students to know that Handshake is a platform that all Baylor students should take advantage of during their four years regardless of their major or classification—along with job searches, students can search for internships as well or find resources about topics like building a resume or preparing for an interview.
“Some students think it’s just for business students, which isn’t true at all. Others think it’s just for looking for a job at the end of your time at the university, which is also not true,” Cefaratti said. “Some students don’t understand the importance of it—as a student, you’re concentrating on your degree and your time right now. It can be hard to think about what happens after here, but at the same time we have to focus on what’s next. The whole goal of getting a really amazing degree is getting a really amazing job. We want students know that there are resources easily available for them to access.”
During the month of April, CPD is engaging in a promotional effort for Handshake, including a photo contest open until the 30th. If a student takes a picture featuring the Handshake logo or incorporating the platform and posts the photo on Instagram and tag @baylorcpd in the picture, they could win a $50 gift card. Cefaratti described the contest as a fun way to engage students in the platform and spread the word.
“The photo contest is a fun way to engage—everything gets so tense with it being the last few weeks of school and we just wanted to have fun with this while also creating buzz and awareness about Handshake,” Cefaratti said.
Cefaratti encourages students to also download the Handshake app and to set up an appointment with CPD for additional help or support.