Standing out to employers on Handshake

Handshake is a key partner in helping employers adjust to changes in the recruiting and hiring process due to COVID-19. Many employers have shifted to fully remote operations and realize that staying connected to potential talent and hiring for certain positions is essential to their company’s vitality and longevity.

As the #1 recruiting platform on college campuses, Handshake’s unique features help students showcase their skills and experience so employers can find the talent that aligns with their business. Employers are increasingly interested in searching for students with career interests and competencies that will bring positive, innovative solutions to the changing world of work.

More than ever organizations are turning virtual for their job search, FAST is no different, we are finding new and innovative ways to reach candidates. Handshake allows us to directly connect with students to invite them to our virtual events and let them know about current job openings.  We encourage students to put in the extra effort of updating their profile (past work experience, picture, extra curriculum activities, etc.) and utilize the different search functions in Handshake to see what companies are hiring and what jobs are available.” 

–  Sarah Bruet, Fast Enterprises, LLC

Maximizing your presence on Handshake gives proactive recruiters a chance to message you directly, and you will be well-poised to apply to new opportunities that are right for you.

Companies Hiring:

Many employers are actively hiring college students on Handshake today. You can discover more about these companies on Handshake’s Blog, as well as find local and regional opportunities by searching the platform. Type the word “remote” into the keyword search box to find jobs/internships that might work for you regardless of where you are sheltering in place. Remember to check back regularly in order to see new postings daily!

Your Profile:

Optimizing your Handshake profile by adding important details about you and your interests is key for Handshake to recommend opportunities or virtual events but also helps employers find you! Use the resume auto-upload feature and Handshake’s Profile Completion bar to help you fill out the following areas of your profile:

  • Photo
  • Graduation Date
  • Career Interests
  • Experiences
  • Organizations where you have worked/interned/volunteered
  • A list of your skills
  • Resume (Need help on your resume? Watch this module on Blackboard, or make an appointment with a career counselor.) Emily to add key links here

Career Interests:

Many employers actively search students by using filters to identify potential candidates by location, job type and roles to meet their company requirements. Filling out the career interests fields is a way to add specificity to your profile and ensures recruiters can search you under a variety of filters. Students who have filled out these fields are 2.5x more likely to see and apply for relevant opportunities. Work & Volunteer Experience, Courses (especially for STEM or technical fields), Organizations & Extracurriculars, Skills, including “hard skills” like software programs and coding, and “soft skills” like communication are also important search criteria. Update your career interests to have a more tailored Handshake experience.

Recruiter Messages:

Over the last two months, Handshake has seen a 250% increase in employer messages sent to students. 80% of students who fill out three or more profile fields get messaged from recruiters, so it’s important to check Handshake for new messages and respond thoughtfully. Recruiters may reach out to invite you to an upcoming event, apply for a job/internship, or to help you learn more about their company. Communicating with recruiters is a great way to expand your network and learn more about potential opportunities for now or in the future. Handshake shares four tips on how to successfully respond to a recruiter’s message to increase your chance of getting hired.

Virtual Events:

Many companies have quickly transitioned their on-campus visits to virtual events and have posted them on Handshake. There are a variety of events that might be of interest, some are recruitment specific, but others might contribute to your career development in other ways. Many companies understand that in these unique times, students are re-imaging their job searches, being creative in building new skills and exploring companies. Attending Sherwin-Williams virtual session on “Asking & Answering Tough Interview Questions” or “AT&T is All of Us“ panel on the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion could be a productive way to spend time in between job searching.

Take Action:

In just a few minutes, you can have Handshake start working for you! The strategies above will help you optimize your profile, tailor your experience, connect you to recruiters and highlight job/internship opportunities of interest. Handshake’s mission is to “democratize access to opportunity” for all students, and fully utilizing this platform will keep you proactive during this uncertain time and focused on your short and long term career goals.

To get started, visit and log in with your UVM net ID and password.

Additional Handshake Resources:

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