Handshake is essential for JMU students trying to progress their career. Handshake replaced JMU’s old platform, Recruit-A-Duke, for students’ job and internship search in June 2018. This website is similar to LinkedIn, but not everyone can create an account on Handshake. This website serves about 500 other universities, leading to a smaller field than LinkedIn. JMU students in any program of study can find many opportunities on Handshake, with over 200,000 jobs listed.
Students can follow this link to access Handshake through their JMU login. Once logged on, a student can go to their account and add information about themselves. The profile for Handshake is similar to LinkedIn. Students need a professional picture of themselves—they should be the only person in the picture and be wearing a business professional shirt—for their account. Students can also edit their major, major GPA, minor, work experience, organizations, clubs and even courses or projects a student has completed. It’s important to fill all of these out completely because this is what employers will be looking at when checking out an applicant. A student can check their profile strength on Handshake to see how potential employers will view their profile.
There are many other aspects one can edit about their profile. Users can add documents, such as a resume, cover letter or recommendations. Students can even decide if they want these documents to appear on their profile or remain invisible. Many of the jobs on Handshake also have a spot for students to upload a resume or cover letter directly to the company.
After creating the best-looking profile possible, students should begin their job search. The search engine in Handshake is precise—one can add many filters to help narrow their search. Students can also add fields they’re interested in. The search engine allows users to input a specific location for jobs and use keywords to help find what they’re looking for. After a person finds a job they’re interested in, they can go about applying by pressing just a few buttons.
Sometimes applications will ask for outside writing samples, so applicants should be sure to have one or two of those prepared. Once someone finishes applying to a job, they can see when they applied, the status of their application and when applications close. If a user has applied to multiple jobs, they will all appear on the “Applications” page. This website is an important asset for JMU students seeking careers, especially since there are companies on this website specifically looking for JMU graduates and there are thousands of opportunities for students to find possible jobs and career paths.
It doesn’t matter how close a student is to graduation, working on their Handshake account can set them apart from other students who don’t have an account. Many students without an account are being left in the dust when it comes to finding jobs. If someone needs more guidance on setting up their account, they can go to the help center for more information. Handshake has increased employment opportunities 3-4 times per school. It’s the best way for JMU students to find work they’re interested in.
Zach Melusen is a junior communication studies major. Contact Zach at email@example.com.