The art of a Handshake

Evangeline Colarossi–Staff Writers

No, the giant yellow hand-shaped chair around campus is not just for lounging.

handshake

Photo By: Career Development Center

Almost every student has seen Dordt’s yellow hand-shaped chair at some point, and most have also heard of the Career Development Center, widely known as the CDC. Something that few are aware of, however, is that the CDC is currently working on something new: The Handshake Program.

Since this summer, CDC employees have been configuring a new program and website to better provide Dordt’s Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors with job opportunities. CDC is swapping out the old program—Symplicity—for Handshake, a program that powers HireDefenders.com. Handshake went live for potential employers on Jul. 1, 2017, and students were able to start creating their accounts right before the fall semester.

What all does Handshake have to offer? When you create your student page, you will be given job suggestions, resume writing tips, interview practice questions, and information on how to use LinkedIn University. Handshake also offers Career Exploration questionnaires, helping you to find what you might enjoy and be the best fit to do in the workforce.

If you would rather get more information face-to-face, the CDC offers mock interviews, cover letter reviewing, career development assessments, networking assistance, and career coaching. When you’re stuck in a rut and don’t know what comes next when applying for jobs, the CDC is there to help.

What if you don’t have a resume, or never updated the one you had in high school? Missy Mulders, Dordt’s Certified Professional Resume Writer can help you organize your skills into one document. You can schedule a meeting with Mulders to start your resume from scratch, or begin your own rough draft and she can help you edit and organize your resume.

Worldwide, around 8 million students and 200,000 employers use Handshake. With Handshake, employers have the ability to see potential workers’ resumes and qualifications. Larger companies won’t contact a student directly, but students can contact them on their own. Businesses like Nike, Google, and Amazon are on Handshake, allowing students from tiny schools to connect with huge companies.

“It opens up the markets in places we weren’t very well represented before,” said Amy Westra, Dordt’s Career Center Coordinator. “A vast majority of employers were regional. Handshake opens us up to positions all around the world.”

In the past, students searching for jobs in graphic design, theatre, construction management and government positions weren’t able to locate job opportunities as easily. With Handshake, students from all majors will be able to find jobs involving their areas of expertise.

Handshake doesn’t suggest jobs solely on your listed major, though. When activating your account, you will be asked a short series of questions revolving around your interests, schools, abilities, and geographic location. This gives Handshake a better idea on where you would like to work as far as location, atmosphere, and specific branches of study go.

Students can find companies to connect with by activating their account and searching in Handshake’s feed. You can search by type of job, the name of the company, and what location you’d prefer to be in.

Most job opportunities are found in Iowa, New York, Chicago, and Washington. Jobs are listed all over each coast and even in other countries. To further narrow down locations there is a map on the Handshake website for you to better choose what location you would like to be in.

Handshake can still be used after graduation. Through the Survey section of Handshake, the CDC is able to send out the First Destination Survey, which checks up on how graduates are doing and what they’re up to.

“Handshake has great analytics,” said Westra, “rather than us manually counting (the surveys), saving us time and maintaining accuracy.”

If you do not have a Handshake account, go to dordt.joinhandshake.com to set it up. When you activate your account, you will automatically be entered into the CDC’s $100 gift card drawing if you complete it before October 25th. To schedule a meeting with the CDC or Missy Mulders, send an email to cdc@dordt.edu or schedule an appointment on dordt.joinhandshake.com under the Career Center tab.

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