Handshake allows students to see more varied job listings that aren’t necessarily tailored for just JMU students. 

JMU’s office of Career and Academic Planning has replaced Recruit-A-Duke with Handshake as the new platform that allows students to find job and internship listings specific to their major. The app also updates its users to networking events and job fairs that occur on-campus.

CAP plans on educating students about Handshake throughout the month of October. Emily Blake, the communications coordinator for CAP, wants students to know that there’ll be a free T-shirt giveaway on Oct. 2 from 2-5 p.m. at both SSC and Festival, where employees will answer questions about Handshake.

Chandra Lane, assistant director for staff training and development in CAP, took part in the testing process for the new system and helped make the decision to switch over to Handshake. This transition was official as of May 2, and she felt that it was more beneficial for JMU students.

“What we are looking for when we meet with students in career counseling appointments is to be able to recommend the best possible way that each student can conduct their job or internship search,” Lane said. “If we are able to have a platform that has a wider variety of positions for a student with any major, then that really helps our population much more.”

Handshake launched in 2014 with the goal of ensuring “ensure all higher ed students have equal access to every job.” Since then, it’s reached 500 universities with 250,000 employers searching for both students and new graduates.

Handshake has job and internship postings, and gives its users the ability to see who’s coming to different career fairs and what positions they’re hiring for. It is also a tool for students to book appointments with career counselors in CAP.

The main difference is the scope of Handshake and ability of students to see more varied job listings that aren’t necessarily tailored for just JMU students. Handshake factors in personalized interests, cities of job location and types of jobs.

“Employers who post positions to the other universities that are part of the Handshake network are also able to connect with JMU students,” Lane said. “We’re seeing companies in the system that we have never had relationships with before.”

All JMU students already have a Handshake account that is linked with their MyMadison information. By simply providing your school email, it will already know your major and what jobs are available.

“The more that you explore the system, the more that Handshake learns you as an individual,” Lane said. “Just like Google, Spotify, or Netflix have algorithms to learn what your preferences are, Handshake lets you favorite companies, or you can express an interest in different types of career fields. Then the recommendations that Handshake is giving you will improve more and more over time.”

Sophomore media arts and design major Chrissy Garrett recently used Handshake to find an internship that she is interested in pursuing. She was impressed by the functionality of the system and range of off-campus jobs.

“I didn’t have to enter any of my personal information, and it already knew my major and was tailoring jobs and internships for me,” Garrett said. “I found a really cool internship that I am definitely going to apply to, and I found it in ten minutes.”

The Handshake app is updated on a daily basis. The event calendar shows opportunities that are happening on campus each day for students to get seriously involved with their major.

“If students get the app, they are going to have a very easy time getting connected with everything that CAP offers, events, appointment scheduling, drops and internships,” Blake said. When people think CAP, they should think Handshake.”

CORRECTION October 1, 10:31 p.m.): A previous version of this article stated that Chrissy Garrett was a sophomore when Garrett is actually a junior. This error was due to a miscommunication between the writer and the sources.

Contact Mitchell Sasser at For more coverage of JMU and Harrisonburg news, follow the news desk on Twitter @BreezeNewsJMU.