Handshake shakes up job search system

By Ray Duffy

At the onset of the 2019-2020 academic year, the Career and Professional Development Center introduced Handshake as an employment database for Saint Vincent students, replacing the former Bearcat Central site.

(Source: JHU School of Education)

According to Courtney Baum, director of the Career and Professional Development Center, Bearcat Central was catered more towards local employers. However, she said, students don’t always necessarily want to work locally after graduation.

“We knew that Handshake would give us the opportunity to connect with larger employers nationwide, who may not have noticed our school in the past,” she stated.

In contrast to Handshake, Bearcat Central was a little heavy in technical and business fields, Baum explained. Handshake is very consistent throughout for all of Saint Vincent’s majors.

“We are thrilled to be able to reach all students with varying interests and majors,” Baum said.

In addition to a wider variety of jobs from a larger geographic area, Handshake is also more accessible to students.

Baum stated that the function of Handshake she would like to see students utilize more is “the mobile app [because] it’s so simple to use.”

Students can suggest potential companies for the Career and Professional Development Center to add to Handshake, allowing students to connect with them, Baum said. Interested students can visit the Career Office to speak to a career consultant or deposit their ideas in the suggestion box located at the Center.

"We knew that Handshake would give us the opportunity to connect with larger employers nationwide, who may not have noticed our school in the past." - Courtney Baum

In addition to internships and full-time jobs, on-campus positions are also posted on Handshake. The metrics are especially helpful to Baum and the other Career and Professional Development Center team members, Baum said.

“If a student is looking for an internship or job,” she stated, “we are notified what students are applying for each opportunity and what we can do to get word out about a specific company or position if needed.”

Additionally, Handshake also allows easier scheduling for students who want to use the Career and Professional Development Center’s services, such as resume reviews, headshots, and mock interviews.

“The student can sign into the system and request the appointment, which is something that we encourage,” explained Baum.

Events hosted by the Career and Professional Development Center, such as employer visits and networking events, are also posted on Handshake.

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