Photo of a review of Handshake as a job search tool

A review of Handshake as a job search tool

What does Handshake do?

Handshake is an app that connects students on college campuses with open positions, mainly internships and entry level jobs. Over 14 million students and young alumni from over 700 universities use Handshake. The app is connected to the school career centers, streamlining the process for employers, counselors, and student candidates.

Users create a profile with their past experiences and information. Once that is done, they can review the job board of companies in the Handshake ecosystem or wait to get newsletter alerts in their inbox to jobs that fit their interests. Through the app, students can set deadlines for themselves and organize the job openings into collections.

Who is Handshake for?

Given their connections to college career service departments and the fact that their positions are mainly internships and entry level, Handshake is targeted towards college students and recent grads. People who are interested in breaking into a new career path might also benefit from the early career positions on the app.

What does Handshake cost? How much work is involved?

Handshake is free for candidates, employers, and universities. Companies can opt to sign up for a premium account, which does cost a fee, and includes advanced capabilities for enterprise-grade recruiting.

In terms of setup, it is similar to LinkedIn and other job boards. Users set up their profiles with their resume, portfolio, and past experiences. If the candidate was referred to Handshake through their university, they can use a code from career services, which means that some of the information, like GPA, will be pre-populated. Once this is done, they can start applying to jobs that match and following jobs or companies that interest them.

Ratings and reviews

The reviews on the Handshake website come from students who say that using the app has made it easier for them to find internships during the busy semester and that it vastly improved their university career services center.

Online, there are some reviews from students who have found that their applications went unnoticed on Handshake. With so many students from the same schools on the app, it does seem like companies might get overwhelmed with the number of applications they receive for each posting and not read all of the apps they get or not send rejection notifications to each person. Other students who left reviews were frustrated that they could not apply directly through the app, instead being brought to the company site, because they felt it meant that Handshake was more of a job board than an opportunity to connect with possible employers.

Alternatives to Handshake

WayUp is probably the most well known alternative to Handshake because it is also a college student-focused, campus-connected job search app. Similarly, students create a profile and are connected with pre-filtered job opportunities. On WayUp, the student profile includes hobbies, to create a more well-rounded view of the candidate. Both are free. There is also Huttle Jobs, which is a daily list of entry-level new jobs and internships for college students and recent graduates.

How does Handshake compare to Pathrise?

Handshake connects college students and recent grads with internships & entry level positions, making it easier for them to see what openings are out there. While they have some career resources on their website, they are mainly a job board that gives candidates pre-filtered positions that match their background.

In comparison, Pathrise is a full service organization. We work with candidates in all aspects of the job search to enhance their soft skills and develop strategies that can help them in the future. We represent the candidates, which means that we can help connect them with any and all companies and our mission is aligned with candidate success. Pathrise also gives personalized 1-on-1 guidance and support to our fellows, helping them with technical and behavioral interview prep, cold emails, negotiation, and more. Our focus is currently on positions in software engineering, product design, product management, and data science.

There is an opportunity for Pathrise & Handshake to be used in conjunction. Part of our curriculum teaches our fellows how to optimize job boards, like Handshake, and how to successfully work with potential employers from their first interaction through negotiation and accepting an offer.

Pathrise is a career accelerator that works with students and young professionals 1-on-1 so they can land their dream job in tech. If you want to work with any of our advisors to get help with any aspect of the job search, become a Pathrise fellow.

Apply today.

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