BU’s career centers have a new way to help you get a firm grip on your future, whether you’re an incoming freshman, a senior, a graduate student, or even an alum.
Handshake, a new online hub for career resources at BU, is ready to help students across the University as well as alumni sharpen their job-seeking skills, explore career possibilities, and find a job.
Handshake offers career-related events and job and internship opportunities, as well as skill-building services available from the BU Center for Career Development (CCD), the College of Communication Career Development, the College of Engineering Career Development Office, the Feld Career Center at the Questrom School of Business, and the School of Hospitality Administration Marriott Career Center.
“It makes things easier for students in a whole host of ways,” says Eleanor Cartelli, CCD senior associate director for marketing and communications.
Meredyth Thomas, director of career services at SHA, says that in the few weeks since Handshake launched, student feedback has been strongly positive. “It’s a platform students are really comfortable with,” she says. “It looks a lot like Facebook-meets-Pinterest.”
For students seeking jobs or internships, Handshake has thousands of listings submitted by hundreds of employers and screened by staff at the BU career centers.
“These are employers who have specifically come onto the platform and chosen to recruit at BU,” says Sarah Thomas, CCD marketing and communications manager. “They’re looking for Terriers.”
The program is designed for undergraduates and graduate students in on-campus degree programs. They can log in with their username and Kerberos password anytime at the Handshake website. Alumni are also encouraged to use this resource, and they should know that not all of the jobs listed are entry-level. Log-in instructions for alumni who no longer have a valid Kerberos password are on the site.
One big improvement over CareerLink, CCD’s previous online job portal, is that students in different schools will no longer have to switch between sites to find events or opportunities at various schools.
“Handshake allows students across the University to have access to positions they wouldn’t have had access to before,” says Rebecca Webb, assistant director of employer engagement and experience at the Feld Career Center. “We’re using a centralized platform, so we’re able to share events and job postings and things like that more fluidly throughout the University.”
Handshake asks users to answer questions about themselves so it can take their interests into account and provide them with targeted job and internship listings, as well as workshops, programs, and recruiting events. “It’s based on machine learning, so they’ll start to see the most relevant positions first,” Cartelli says.
“The more information that a student provides about their interests, the more it will prioritize best-fit opportunities,” says Meredyth Thomas.
Students can upload a résumé or cover letter, schedule a career counseling appointment, or RSVP for on-campus events such as job-related seminars, employment fairs, and recruiting events. They can also sign up for same-day résumé and cover letter reviews at the CCD.
Handshake’s journal feature allows students to keep track of their progress, and they can sync appointments and events to their calendar program. There’s even a downloadable smartphone app for using Handshake on the go.
Cartelli suggest that all students start using Handshake now, “so when they’re seniors, they will know where to go to for help, and they’re not starting from scratch with graduation looming over them.”
Launched in 2014, Handshake is now used by more than 110 US universities, 1.5 million students, and 105,000 employers. Its national network allows employers who might not have connected with BU before to easily add the University to their search.
“These are opportunities from all over the country, and not just big companies, but small nonprofits from other regions, such as the Southwest, Midwest, or Pacific Northwest,” Cartelli says.
Using Handshake across the University also makes a difference for employers, who might be looking for both business students and engineering students, for example.
Handshake also offers third-party interactive features to help students and alumni prepare for their job search. Big Interview, for example, allows students to record video and audio of practice job interviews and presentations that they can then share via email with career counselors or anyone else for feedback. GoinGlobal has information for anyone searching for a job or internship abroad. (Handshake listings include international employers.) And Vault provides career intelligence and company research.
First- and second-year students using the site may still be trying to figure out how their interests will translate to a major or how the major they love will translate to a job in the real world, Sarah Thomas says. Those students can find information on Handshake about a workshop called Career Directions: Starting Your Journey for those kinds of questions. BU career centers have helped thousands of students find the answers, she says.
“What we really want students to know is that we are there for them,” she says. “We can help support all their goals—their academic goals and what everything they’re doing in college is pointing to, which is achieving their dreams after they graduate.”