Handshake is a job posting site that helps employers connect with college students and graduates. This unique platform partners with universities and supports in-person recruiting through career fairs. It allows employers to narrow down their search and can provide opportunities for graduates to start their careers.
Wondering if Handshake is the right job posting platform for you? This review will walk you through the benefits and downsides of its services to help you decide.
Best for college students
Compared to some of the best job search sites, Handshake because of its partnerships with colleges and universities nationwide. Applicants can browse and apply to jobs and internships online or through the mobile app. Some listings also allow users to send messages directly to an employer’s talent acquisition specialist or to peers who have previously held that position.
However, this isn’t the best platform for more experienced professionals. Handshake has a smaller reach than other platforms because it’s only available to applicants with a .edu email address, making it best for students and recent graduates.
Handshake pros and cons
- Wide reach across the U.S.
- Unique search filters for international students
- Intuitive website and mobile app
- Employers search for applicants by major
- Requires a .edu address
Handshake has unique advantages for students. It has partnerships with college campuses across the U.S., offers helpful search tools for international students and offers a user-friendly app.
Allows for connections across many locations
Handshake allows students to connect with employers from all around the country. This can be helpful if you’re looking for a remote job, want to relocate after graduation or simply want to keep your options open.
You should also note that since Handshake is only available for college students, the applicant pool for each listing might be smaller when compared to other job posting sites. That could bring about a better chance of getting noticed regardless of your current location.
Search filter for international students
Handshake lets you filter listings by location, salary, education and experience level. While other sites have similar filters, Handshake is one of the few platforms that lets you narrow your search by work authorization. This can help international students find internships or full-time positions with companies that accept non-citizens.
User-friendly mobile app
Handshake has an intuitive mobile app that lets you browse for jobs, check the status of your applications, attend virtual appointments and more. Similar to a social media app, you can even message some employers and peers directly.
The Handshake app has high ratings on both Google Play and Apple’s App Store and can be downloaded on all mobile devices.
Handshake has a lot of benefits for both employers and graduate students, but it isn’t the right job search platform for everyone. Handshake filters student applicants by major, which can lead to missed connections. It also requires a .edu email address and some reviews mention that employers aren’t always responsive through the platform.
Employers search for applicants by major
Employers on Handshake search for qualified applicants using majors as a main criteria. Virtual events and job fairs may also be reserved for students of specific majors.
If your campus’ career center pre-created a Handshake account for you, your major is automatically uploaded to help you find relevant opportunities. However, one problem with this system is that the names of majors often vary across universities and colleges.
Handshake offers a Major Groups tool to help colleges consolidate their majors under a similar field of study, such as communications or engineering. However, if your campus’ career center doesn’t organize its majors properly using the tool, there’s a chance employers might miss your profile.
This system can also be tricky for double majors, as Handshake requires you to list one major as your primary education. As a result, your second major may be overlooked by employers.
Hard for grads to maintain connections without access to a school email address
Handshake requires a .edu email address to have an account. As a student, you can sign up for job updates, employer messages and other notifications. However, these notifications are delivered to your school email address, so you will lose recruiting opportunities once you graduate and change email addresses.
Some universities, such as the University of California system, allow students to keep their school email addresses for as long as they want after graduation. Other schools, however, remove access to the account within a year or two after graduation.
Handshake plans and offerings
Team Handshake offers two plan options for employers: a free Core plan and a Premium membership. For students, Handshake is completely free. You can make an account using your university email address and have access to job listings, employer information, messaging tools, recruitment fairs and more.
Handshake Core vs. Premium
There are no paid plans for students on Handshake. However, understanding the differences between Handshake’s employer offerings might help you in your job search.
Handshake Core is the standard, unpaid plan available to any employer. On the other hand, companies using Handshake Premium have access to additional messaging and sourcing tools, customization capabilities for listings and more.
These features can make it easier for students to connect directly with Premium members. Job posts don’t mention whether a company is a Core or Premium member. However, you might spot a premium employer if their profile includes content such as recruiting videos, newsfeeds,c employee spotlights and FAQs.
If you notice a listing includes only basic information, that employer is most likely using Handshake Core. They will have limited messaging capabilities and applicant search tools, so you might have a better chance of connecting with them by going directly to the company’s website.
There is no fee for students who want to browse through job postings or connect with an employer on Handshake. The app is also free to download.
Handshake financial stability
Compared to other job posting sites, Handshake is a relatively small company. It has 500 employees and an annual revenue of around $105 million. Because it’s new, there is limited information about this company’s financial stability. However, the company was valued at $3.5 billion in 2022, doubling its growth from the previous year.
If you're a student or recent graduate with a .edu email address, you'll have full access to the site's offerings as long as your university is registered with Handshake.
Handshake is available to employers and students across the country, and its wide reach can help students connect with companies outside of their current location.
However, not all universities have access to Handshake because they must pay an annual fee to join the network and bring Handshake employers to campus events. If your university isn’t partnered with Handshake, you won’t have access to this platform.
Handshake doesn’t have a customer service number. Instead, it offers an online help center with informational articles and guides. You can contact customer service through the live chat feature on Handshake’s website. This service is available for students, university staff and employers.
According to most Handshake reviews, the website and app are user-friendly. Prospective applicants can scroll through job postings and search using intuitive filtering tools.
Of course, experiences will vary for each university. It’s up to the administration to organize students by appropriate Major Groups in their career center to guarantee employers and potential candidates match through Handshake.
Handshake customer satisfaction
Handshake's job posting offerings aren't for everyone. Although it gets above-average ratings on most review sites, the platform is only available for current or former students with a .edu address who can access Handshake through their university.
That said, Handshake’s app gets mostly positive reviews. Students often praise its resources and ease of use. According to some user reviews, Handshake works best for students who want to see available jobs through the app, then apply in person or on the company’s site instead.
Handshake Job Posting Site Review FAQs
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How we evaluated Handshake
We evaluated Handshake by analyzing its offerings and comparing it to other popular job posting sites. Some of the features we considered for this review include ease of use, customer service, online reviews, financial strength and company stability, pricing and plan options.
Summary of Money's Handshake review
Handshake is a unique platform for students and recent grads to find their first job, an internship or a new opportunity outside of their area. This site is available through campus career centers and has a user-friendly mobile app with helpful search tools.
If you’re a college student who wants to jumpstart your job search, consider searching for jobs on Handshake. It’s free to access and can help you connect with an opportunity that fits your educational background.