Photo of a review of Handshake as a job search tool

A review of Handshake as a job search tool – 2023 update

Check out our review of Handshake to see if it can help you with your job search.

Updated in 2023

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. Schools purchase access to the app and connect it to their career services departments. This streamlines the process for employers, counselors, and student candidates.

First, users create a profile with their past experiences and information. Then, they can review the job board, which has openings from companies in the ecosystem. Or, they can 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.

Photo of Handshake review

Who is Handshake for?

College students and recent grads are the main audience for Handshake. This is mainly due to their connections to college career service departments. Plus, most of the positions are internships and entry level. However, people who are want to break 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 in to sign up for a premium account. This costs 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. Then, they can use a code from career services to connect to their school. This 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 the site. 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. Therefore, they might not be able to read all of the apps they get or send rejection notifications to each person. Other students who left reviews were frustrated that they could not apply directly through the app. Instead, they had to go to the company site. This made them feel like 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. That is 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, which helps 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. Therefore, it makes 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. This means that we can help connect them with any and all companies. In addition, our mission is aligned with candidate success. Pathrise also gives personalized 1-on-1 guidance and support to our fellows. We help 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 professionals 1-on-1 so they can land their first, or next, great job in tech. If you want to work with our mentors to get help with any aspect of the job search, become a Pathrise fellow.

Apply today.

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Alex MacPherson

Hi I'm Alex! Since graduating from UC Berkeley in 2019, I have worked on the growth team for Pathrise helping job seekers hone their skills to land their dream role through curated content on interview prep, resume building and more.

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