By Laura Droste, Assistant Director, Student Career Advising, serving students in Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
While spring quarter was wrapping up last year, NCA launched a new career platform, Handshake, which replaced CareerCat. If you haven’t had a chance to get started on Handshake, then this blog post is for you! If you’ve gotten a chance to dig into Handshake, this blog post is still for you to make sure you’ve taken all the steps to optimize your profile and set your career preferences. The great thing about Handshake is the more you update the platform with your skills, experiences and preferences, the more the platform will work for you by recommending opportunities (internships/jobs/events) on your homepage.
Step 1: Log into Handshake
If you haven’t already, log into the platform at http://northwestern.joinhandshake.com using your NetID and password. Once you do, bookmark the URL to make it easier to return to it. Also, Handshake has a mobile app for iOS devices, with an Android version coming out soon, for access on the go! Note that the mobile app focuses primarily on functions for exploring and applying to internships and jobs. While you can access your profile on the app, you can only make updates to it through desktop for now.
Step 2: Indicate your career interests for tailored content and to opt-into NCA industry newsletters
When you first log into Handshake, you should be prompted to select your career interests. If you have already created an account and this is not your first time logging into the platform, then you can access your interest preferences by clicking on your name in the upper right-hand corner and selecting ‘Career Interests.’ This is a very important step because it not only helps Handshake to tailor the opportunities posted on your homepage, but it also tells NCA that you are interested in a specific industry so that we can send you targeted industry emails about events and opportunities. If your career interests evolve, make sure to update this section so that you do not miss out on relevant opportunities on Handshake and through NCA!
Step 3: Create a profile & make it visible to employers
There are different ways to make the process of creating a profile easy. You can access your profile by clicking your name in the upper right-hand corner and selecting ‘My Profile.’ The first way to easily make a profile is to upload your resume; Handshake should prompt you to do so when you first go onto your profile page. Another option for building your profile is to upload your resume by going to the ‘Document’ section on the right hand-side and selecting ‘Build Profile From Resume’ once the document has been uploaded. Then Handshake will update the sections in your profile with the relevant content. However, be sure to read it over and make sure that everything had translated correctly.
The final way to easily create your profile is to open up your LinkedIn profile in another tab on your web-browser and copy/paste the content from the LinkedIn section to the Handshake section. You’ll notice many similarities between the two profiles and the content can be the exact same (including the photo you use)! Make a mental note that any time you update your LinkedIn profile to update your Handshake profile and vice versa. If you do not have a LinkedIn profile yet, this could also be a good time to create one.
And another important hint, when you complete your profile, make sure to adjust the settings to make it visible to employers. You will notice a prompt at the right-hand side of your profile to make it public and can even test out the employer view.
Whether you need help with creating a resume, Handshake profile or LinkedIn profile, your career adviser is here to provide you with assistance and answer all your questions.
Step 4: Check it out!
Remember that the more you interact with the platform, the more Handshake will be able to recommend opportunities for you. This includes the jobs and organizations that you ‘Favorite’ and the events you RSVP to attend. The more you engage with the platform, the more it works for you! Handshake is also your hub for making appointments with your NCA career counselor and career adviser (select ‘Appointments’ under ‘Career Center’). Lastly, if you select ‘Resources’ under ‘Career Center,’ you’ll notice that we have posted access to resources such as CQ Interactive, Going Global, iNet, US News, and more!