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Talent and Career Development: Handshake Program Launch

       As I sat down to interview with Sarah Todd and Joanna Craig about the new job finding website Handshake, their excitement was palpable. “We’ve been prepping for a baby!” Todd jokes, “And next week is the due date!” The Handshake launch has been in the works since June 2017, but Todd was made aware of the program when she did a demo in 2015. Ever since then, they were both hooked. “They were a brand new product,” Todd explained, “but I was worried the price was just too much.” Craig shared they originally hoped they’d find that Handshake wasn’t worth the money, but after looking into the program further, Todd and Craig soon realized this was a program they “needed to get for [Eastern] students.”

      Handshake is built for smaller schools, making it easier for employers to advertise jobs to schools they otherwise might never be aware of. “We are a small school,” Todd acknowledges. “I feel like what we’ve done is set up a massive lighthouse on top of our school.” Handshake allows employers to post job advertisements to all schools registered in the program at the click of a button, instead of forcing potential employers to physically visit Eastern in order to post job advertisements on Eastern’s career site. “Within a week, we had a thousand employers,” Todd shares, and the list is only growing. Todd and Craig plan on featuring all sorts of jobs and internships on Handshake, not just specialized job advertisements. “We’re going to have jobs from the neighborhood posted in here,” Craig reveals. Todd adds, “Every student’s need is different… there’s all different stages of experience.”

      Handshake not only puts Eastern on companies’ radars, but also helps students make sure the jobs being advertised are from trustworthy businesses. Each company has to be approved by the Talent and Career Development office, so students can be certain the job offers on the site are legitimate and worth pursuing. Todd shares that Handshake gives each company a “trust rating” so the Career counselors can make sure they are only allowing authentic job offers onto Eastern students’ feed. Students also have the ability to customize their job search, with the opportunity to filter jobs by interests, skills, and more. Even if students have no idea what job they want, Craig explains, “Handshake can even be helpful for people who don’t know what they want to do. It can just be a way to explore what kind of jobs are out there, what kind of employers are out there. Just poke around, look at the different job duties.”

      Ultimately, Todd and Craig are not only excited about all the features Handshake provides for the students, but also about the increased opportunity for students to connect with the Eastern Talent and Career Development office. “You have a tailored system that is going to do a lot of heavy lifting for you,” Todd shares, “but you also have the benefit of our office behind you.” Todd and Craig hope that Handshake will prove to be a bridge between the students and their office. The dates for Eastern career fairs, practice exams, grad school information sessions, and more will all be posted on Handshake, and students will also have the ability to schedule an appointment with Todd or Craig through the website, as well. Acknowledging  mindlessly searching the internet for job advertisements can make students feel hopeless, Todd expresses her expectation that Handshake will make this process “a little less painful,” and hopes that her and Craig’s office will be a place students are able to come for help. “That’s one reason why Joanna and I love this work,” Todd emphasizes. “We love being encouragers and champions for people.” They certainly have high hopes that Handshake will make life a little easier for the Eastern student body and encourage students in their job search and hopes for the future.

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