Why finding a job as a student can be challenging and how Handshake is going to help

By now you’ve probably heard of Handshake, ASU’s newest tool for finding internships and jobs, and for connecting with Career and Professional Development Services. What you might not know is how much Handshake is changing the job search and recruiting landscape for college students. Here are four challenges college students face when seeking a job, and how Handshake is changing that.


1. You’re looking for positions specific to students and recent grads

If you’ve taken a peek at the jobs available lately, you’ve probably realized that job posting sites are not college-student specific. You’ll find that a majority of the jobs on the boards are for people who are already in the workforce. Even the entry-level positions are written for a general audience, which can include students just starting out, recent grads with a couple years’ experience or people who are looking to switch fields after gaining experience doing something else.

The Handshake benefit: A hub for college students and employers to connect

There are tons of companies who specifically hire college students either for full–time employment or internship programs. The problem is that typical job boards are not the best way to reach a specific audience, such as college students. Handshake provides a platform that connects you directly to companies who hire students. It’s that easy.


2. You’re a real person, not a job description in human form

And that makes you a bundle of what often feels like unconnected experiences, skills and strengths. A big part of the job search is finding the thread that connects the pieces of your life in a way that helps employers see the potential value you can add to their team. If you haven’t taken time to think about this or build a resume, you’ll probably feel inadequate every time you see a position description.

The Handshake benefit: Easy-to-build employer-facing profiles

Your qualifications are changing as quickly as you are gaining new experiences, so Handshake has made it incredibly easy to build your initial profile, and add on to it over time. The best part is that it’s completely searchable — so if an employer is looking for an intern or employee with a specific skill set, they can pretty easily narrow down a list and recruit directly.


3. You’re interested in out-of-state opportunities

Thinking of landing a job in your dream city? Or let’s say you’d love to get an internship in Silicon Valley this summer. Maybe you're ready to look for post-graduation employment and you’re open to moving anywhere for the right position. With any of these scenarios, you’ll want to be able to connect with employers and their recruiters no matter where you are physically located, and you definitely don’t want to be at a disadvantage to candidates who live near the companies you’re interested in.

The Handshake benefit: Greater connectivity can take you farther

Instead of hoping that your dream company will be in town recruiting when you’re ready to look for a job, Handshake connects you with companies all over the country, at any point in your education. You can follow companies you’re interested in, and keep up-to-date with their hiring needs and build relationships with them while you’re going through school.


4. You’re new at this

You might not have applied for a "career" position before, so the thought of landing a great job can be both exciting and intimidating. There’s professional communication, interviews, salary negotiations, etc. But the thing with any job search is that you’re always moving on to something new — you usually don’t go after the exact same job you’ve had before. This means that any time you go looking for a job you are, to some extent, in uncharted territory. This can be especially true for college students where even an internship can feel like a big step from the jobs you’ve had in the past. So that’s why it makes sense to get experience in putting yourself out there, professionally speaking, as early as possible. The sooner you get familiar with the job application process, the easier it will get to land your first job and any jobs afterward.

The Handshake benefit: Career Services at your fingertips

Handshake makes it easy to access the services available through ASU’s Career and Professional Development Services. Career services are designed to help you get experience in this foreign process through webinars, workshops, and one-on-one sessions. So in the same place you’re searching and interacting with potential employers, you’re also able to schedule meetings with career advisors and find career events on campus. It’s just one of those things you have to learn how to do, and it’s better to start early so you’re a pro when it’s time to actually go for a position.

What to do next?

If you haven’t, log in to Handshake and set up your profile. Spend 15 minutes exploring. Consider an event or one-on-one session to build on your experience in the world of professional interaction.

Want more?

Try this out: Ask the recruiters what types of positions they typically hire students for, what makes someone a good cultural fit for their company, and what changes they see coming in their industry.

This is a very low pressure approach. Because you are just looking for information, you can scope out how a fair works for future reference, and you can easily make a good impression by demonstrating that you’re proactive and curious.


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A library of helpful advice, tips and answers to questions from students to Sunny.

ASU’s chatbot, Sunny, has been helping students get adjusted to college life for a few years now. The questions from students year after year, rarely change. Sometimes it helps to see what other students are asking to stay informed and realize you aren’t the only one trying to figure it all out.

Welcome to the Hey Sunny blog – a library of advice for students from Sunny and the team supporting the bot.

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