By Jada Butler
The Office of Alumni and Employer Engagement launched Handshake this semester, a new job and internship website for students. Handshake replaces the previous job and internship website CareerConnect. The decision to change platforms came from student feedback during the office’s “Tabling Tuesdays” in Hillwood Commons during common hour last semester.
“We found that CareerConnect wasn’t user friendly,” Moreen Mitchell, university director of alumni and employer engagement, said. Students found the layout to be difficult to navigate, and employers also faced issues with getting students to actually apply for their job openings. Only 13 percent of the LIU community was utilizing CareerConnect, and this includes all campuses, Mitchell said.
Mitchell followed the example of other universities in choosing to move to Handshake. “We saw success within other universities and decided that we needed to step up for our students,” Mitchell said.
Handshake has a familiar interface, with layout and navigation similar to Facebook. “You don’t have to be super ‘techy’ to get the hang of it,” Mitchell said. When students log on to Handshake, all of the tools are located on the first page – where to upload a resumé, where to search for jobs, events going on near or on campus, etc. “It’s a one stop shop for jobs and internships,” she said.
Student feedback on Handshake after the first week of the semester led to the discovery of “Amazon tracking abilities” where frequent job searches incite recommendations within that industry of work without the effort of searching. “We take pride in going to our students, hearing what’s not working, and then turning it around,” Mitchell said. “Because we have handshake and it is better (based on successful results at other universities), we our owning this transition,” she added. The alumni and employer engagement team is spreading the word university wide through deans, professors, Blackboard and the Promise Office.
For the first time this year, alumni and employer engagement, which was created this summer when the two separate offices were combined, will be visiting the Riverhead and Brentwood campuses in coordination with Abby Van Vlerah, the newly appointed dean of the regional campuses. “Enrollment services counselors at the regional campuses will be trained to assist students on the new platform, and the website is being advertised to familiarize students with it as a resource,” according to Van Vlerah.
At LIU Post, promise coaches have been meeting with the office of alumni and employer engagement biweekly to cooperate in advertising Handshake. Promise coaches are directing students to upload their resumés, look for internships, job openings, workshops, and other events through Handshake.
A “Get to Know Handshake” information session will take place Thursday, Sept. 21 during common hour in the library, room 227. This information session will kick off the LIU Promise office’s fall 2017 Career Success Workshop Series.
The office of alumni and employer engagement will also be continuing with “Tabling Tuesdays” this semester in Hillwood Commons during common hour. With a new location across from Subway and Twisted Taco, Mitchell and her team hope to attract more students to come and speak with them. The new location is strategically placed where there is the most traffic, as opposed to the previous spot in front of the Gold Coast Cinema. They will also be featuring an outside employer every week for students to talk with one-on-one by appointment only through Handshake. The goal is to bring employers and jobs that would help to build students’ resumés with experience in their field of study.
Part-time and full-time positions for campus jobs, internships, and entry-level jobs for after graduation are coming onto Handshake every day. These resources are made available through handshake.liu.edu. Just sign up with your MyLIU login to get started.