Wittenberg students have more opportunities to secure jobs and internships thanks to the university’s recent partnership with Handshake, an online career database that connects college students with potential employers.
In early August, Career Services switched from its small “Tiger Den: Job and Internship Board” platform to Handshake, which describes itself as “the largest career community for students and recent grads.” On Aug. 1, Wittenberg’s Director of Career Services, Wendy Smiseck, sent an email to students, encouraging them to claim their premade accounts.
“Handshake is targeted towards students to give them opportunities,” Smiseck said. “If you don’t know what you want to do, you can put in your major and Handshake will identify different opportunities to you.”
Handshake’s website highlights the successes of partner school students securing jobs at companies like International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), Intel, Revlon, “The New York Times,” Marriott, ESPN, Shell Oil and more.
“There are thousands of companies on Handshake which you can look up and follow,” Smiseck said. “When they post jobs that connect with all of your interest areas, you’ll have that show up in your box. I just think that’s amazing.”
Over 700 schools partner with Handshake, from Ivy Leagues to state institutions to liberal arts colleges.
Through the website or app, students can personalize their profiles by listing their majors, career interests and preferred work environments. Students can also upload their resumes and experiences. Handshake uses students’ information to generate prospective opportunities. Unlike Wittenberg’s previous platform in which employers had to find students themselves, Handshake allows students to initiate more outreach to companies as well.
“You have automatic access to all Fortune 500 companies, and we’ve never had that before,” Smiseck said. “In the past, we would try to work with alumni who were in significant organizations. Sometimes they would connect with Tiger Den, sometimes not, but this way, they have automatic access to all of it.”
Career Services cross-lists all companies that will be present at job fairs and similar events on the Handshake beforehand, and some students have already found opportunities.
“Based on the last job fair we had and the positions that were posted through there, people who have found opportunities have been excited about it,” Smiseck said. “People have done applications for Reynolds & Reynolds, Defense Financing and Accounting Services, Konecranes, KPMG, Young Entrepreneurs of America, Androsa Group and Weiser. Most of these are places are relatively new because of going on Handshake. We’re succeeding with companies that I’ve been trying incredibly hard to get to connect with us, and now they are,” Smiseck said.
Smiseck also said that Wittenberg has connected with the powerhouse companies Disney and NASA.
Kamryn Campbell (’20), who is also a student worker for Career Services, said that Handshake has made her internship searches more individualized.
“Handshake has helped me find good jobs and internships that are tailored towards my major and my interests,” Campbell said.
So far, 68% of students have accessed their Handshake accounts.
Students with questions about Handshake or who want to know more are encouraged to visit the Career Services Center in Thomas Library.
“Always come to Career Services if you have questions, we have walk-in hours on Mondays and Thursdays, but anytime you have questions somebody is available to walk you through it,” Smiseck said.