By Brittany Collier, Student Success Ambassador
As college students, we are often told, ‘It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know’ which brings about a multitude of unsolved questions: Who am I supposed to know? How do I expand my network? Who do I reach out to and how do I reach out?
Luckily, many students have the opportunity to join Handshake, an online networking platform, offered by many universities across the U.S. for students to connect with prospective employers and hear about employment opportunities. Handshake is a great way to network with potential employers and other students. Essentially, it’s networking made easy! So if you’re not already using it and your university offers it, you should really be utilizing this resource!
Unfortunately, you can’t just make an account and expect a job to magically appear. That’s where these tips come in, so here are some things that can help you stand out on Handshake and get you closer to career success:
Upload a professional profile photo
Choose a clean, sharp, professional headshot of yourself. No blurry photos of you after a late night, no group photos and no beach photos! A photo goes a long way in telling potential employers that you are professional. Choose wisely.
Complete your profile
Don’t leave out important information! When you go to your profile in Handshake it has a handy toolbar that lets you know how close you are to being finished with your profile. Make sure that toolbar is full. You want to include all the information that a future employer may need when looking at your profile. Display your resume, relevant classes, GPA, graduation date, etc. The more complete your profile is the better snapshot a future employer can get of your skills, work, experience and fit for a specific job.
Create an intriguing bio
Other than your profile photo, your bio is one of the first things your future employer will see. Make sure that it’s not only brief but that it also includes a passionate statement that shows you care about what you do. Your bio should explain who you are and what you do in 2-3 sentences.
Add projects or portfolios
Having physical examples of what you do is a great way to make yourself stand out to employers. When you have evidence of what you’re passionate about, it shows that not only are you passionate, but you can also actually do the work as well. Words on a website can mean very little but having work examples helps you stand out. These examples could be work from side projects, class work you completed related to your field or projects from relevant part-time jobs or internships.
Don’t wait for employers to find you
Handshake isn’t a one way street! It’s also a platform for you to seek out prospective employers. Most jobs won’t fall into your lap so use Handshake’s features to your advantage while you have them. There are a lot of tools and filters on Handshake to find your future career including: location, job type, industry, major, and more. Use the filters, they are there to help you run a more relevant search! Also, use the save feature on Handshake. It’s invaluable. Save opportunities to your favorites so you never forget about a position that you are interested in!