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Handshake increases job postings, garners mixed reviews amid internship search season

The+Handshake+login+page.+The+career+platform+was+implemented+in+June%2C+replacing+both+CareerCat+and+MEDILLINK.
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Handshake increases job postings, garners mixed reviews amid internship search season

The Handshake login page. The career platform was implemented in June, replacing both CareerCat and MEDILLINK.

The Handshake login page. The career platform was implemented in June, replacing both CareerCat and MEDILLINK.

Alison Albelda/Daily Senior Staffer

The Handshake login page. The career platform was implemented in June, replacing both CareerCat and MEDILLINK.

Alison Albelda/Daily Senior Staffer

Alison Albelda/Daily Senior Staffer

The Handshake login page. The career platform was implemented in June, replacing both CareerCat and MEDILLINK.

Savannah Kelley, Reporter

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It’s peak job search season, and the thought of securing a summer job or internship looms large in many Northwestern students’ minds.

Handshake, the career platform that Northwestern Career Advancement provides to students, is one way to manage this stressful process. The new platform was implemented in June, replacing both CareerCat and MEDILLINK.

Mark Presnell, the executive director of NCA, said he is pleased with how the transition to Handshake has gone so far.

“We’re close to posting twice as many jobs and internships in the first six months of this year as we did all of last year,” Presnell said. “So from that perspective, we’ve seen a significant increase in the opportunities available to Northwestern students.”

Presnell said that there have been over 20,000 jobs posted on Handshake since the beginning of this year, compared to the yearly average of 10,000 to 12,000 posted on CareerCat.

Presnell added that Handshake is a more user-friendly platform than CareerCat.

“CareerCat was very dependent on the student doing the search,” he said. “Handshake brings that artificial intelligence piece to it, so it can match your interests with the opportunities that are available.”

Communication sophomore Delaney McCallum said she prefers to use Handshake because the social networking platform LinkedIn can be overwhelming and “scares” her.

Anna Blakley, a McCormick junior, said she is “very big on LinkedIn,” and has been growing her profile since she was 16. She found that Handshake was not useful for finding internships in her field of study.

Blakley explained that Handshake has “very limited options” in terms of majors to choose from when filtering through jobs. Because she is in a unique field of study — she designs her own course of study from classes offered through McCormick and the Segal Design Institute — there is no option on Handshake for her to put her specific major.

“The options that come up for recommended jobs don’t really relate at all to what I’m studying,” Blakley said. “I was just looking a few minutes ago and something offered to me was a policy manager at a police station, which has no relation to anything that I’m studying.”

Blakley said this was typical of her Handshake experience. Most of the time, she is given “completely unrelated, completely out of left field recommendations.” She added that she has friends who are “dedicated” to Handshake, but it doesn’t work for her.

Presnell said students are utilizing the platform more often and it has been easier for employers to post job openings. He noted that students have “adapted very quickly to the new system.”

He added that student feedback has been positive and NCA has had an increased number of satisfaction surveys following career appointments, which are completed through Handshake.

For SESP senior Liana Pickrell, Handshake has proved useful. Pickrell used Handshake to look for jobs this past fall. She said that when searching for jobs on Google, she often found “random things that just don’t look legitimate.”

“If it’s on Handshake, it should be a legitimate position, which is honestly more than you can say from just Google,” Pickrell said.

Email: savannahkelley2021@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @kelleysasa

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