This article was created by a Technology Services student employee. Our student employees attend, engage, and report on campus events that feature technology. Students provide a unique perspective on how innovations in technology affect campus life.

By Sara Abdeljalil, Economics '18

As winter approaches, the inevitable comes with it: recruitment season. I’m not talking about Greek life, but jobs and internships. The fall is the ideal time for recruiters to post their job openings, and seek out potential candidates. That’s why being prepared and having your resumes and Handshake profiles prepared is critical.

Having a Handshake profile is important for applying to jobs. So, what is Handshake? It’s the University’s new job website, here to replace I-Link. It essentially works the same way as I-Link, with a few new changes.

According to Derek Attig, Director of Career Development in the Graduate College, “There are two large-scale differences. First, where I-Link was a self-contained system for the University of Illinois, Handshake is a nationwide network that includes over 400 universities and over 200,000 employers. That means that it’s easier for employers to reach Illinois students and that students will—especially as more and more employers connect with us—have access to postings from more employers than ever before. Second, Handshake is significantly more user-friendly for students.”

In terms of user-friendliness, Handshake allows students to make profiles that can be made visible to employers. Your profile includes your work experience, education, skills, and interests. You could also include links to different work you want employers to see (like an article that you published). You can also upload a resume that you can choose to make visible to employers, allowing them to find you if they are looking for a particular set of skills.

The nice thing about Handshake is that it is customized to you. If you want to work in Chicago, Handshake will generate a tab that says “Discover Jobs in Chicago.” You can find that under the “For You” tab. Additionally, once you’ve applied for a position, you can monitor any updates with your applications under the “applications” tab located under the “jobs” tab.

Handshake makes it easy to apply to jobs, in that all you have to do for most companies is drop your resume. Sometimes you have to include a transcript or cover letter, so keeping those on hand and uploaded onto Handshake is key. Once you’ve applied through Handshake, make sure you apply through the company’s direct website as well, if the company requires it. The link to apply usually pops up once you have applied on Handshake.

Nabiha Ahmed, a senior majoring in Kinesiology, had this to say about Handshake “Handshake seems really easy to use, and I like that you can build your profile. It’s also cool because it lists more than just jobs and internships, but other opportunities that are beneficial to me as a pre-dental student.”

In addition, make sure to check out Lynda for any extra job skills you’d like to add to your resume. Lynda is a free online program offered to Illinois students that offers classes on an array of subjects. If you’re looking to learn skills that range from using Excel or how to code with Python, then make sure to check it out!

So, be sure you polish your resumes and get your Handshake profiles ready! Keep your profile up to date, and also make your profile public. This way, employers can see your profile, and connect with you about a position they might have even if you did not apply for it. On the right-hand side, you can view which employers have looked at your profile.