Virtual handshake

Stryker Eagle mascot sits in yellow hand chair in lobby of centennial hall.Stryker, UWL’s Eagle mascot, sits on the Handshake chair. Every school that signs up to use Handshake as a career management system, has a chair sent to them. Since UWL started using Handshake in summer 2017, 420 alumni have taken advantage of the site to recruit UWL students, as well as students from universities nationwide.

New software brings employers, UWL students more opportunity to find one another

A group of Michigan Tech students who developed new software as part of a class project five years ago have revolutionized Career Services at universities across the country, says Karolyn Bald, UWL assistant director of Career Services.

Handshake went live as UWL’s new, online career services management system in summer 2017. Through the software, employers can create profiles and invite students from hundreds of universities on Handshake nationwide to apply for jobs. All UWL students have access to Handshake. Simply logging in, they have access to internships, full-time and part-time jobs in diverse fields around the world. The software, which is now used by the majority of universities nationwide, replaced UWL’s prior system, Eagle Opportunities.

“We have so many more opportunities in non-traditional career fields to share with students because of Handshake,” says Bald.

By November 2017, after making the switch, UWL Career Services had a 400 percent increase in job postings.

“We used to search for jobs to enter into our career management system, and we still knew there was not enough jobs to provide variety for students,” says Bald. “Now I’m approving thousands of requests from employers to connect with our students.”

Career Services has approved nearly 7,000 requests to post jobs on UWL’s Handshake site within the last year. And the site has received 2,800 unique logins from UWL students within the last 90 days.

“This creates so many more opportunities for our students,” says Bald.

The platform also increases the ease of alumni recruiting efforts, she adds. A total of 420 UWL alumni are currently using UWL’s Handshake site to find student interns and full-time employees.

Alum sees efficiencies with Handshake

Subach poses for the camera

UW-La Crosse alumna Jessica Subach, human resources manager for Courtesy Corp. McDonald’s, says UWL students who become employees tend to share some commonalities including great soft skills, and a record of involvement that shows they can balance priorities and work efficiently.

UW-La Crosse alumna Jessica Subach, ’12, human resources manager for Courtesy Corp. McDonald’s, found her career connection as a UWL sophomore. She was initially hired as a human resources intern for Courtesy Corp. McDonald’s after meeting the human resources manager at a chapter meeting for the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM).

Since she graduated, she keeps a close connection to UWL, returning regularly for meetings as a liaison for UWL’s chapter of SHRM. She shares with students the value of making as many employer connections as they can via career fairs, involvement in the community and other opportunities.

In addition to the traditional handshake, Subach is a fan of Handshake software. It not only opens opportunities for students, but also creates new efficiencies for employers, she says.

Because of Handshake, Subach and her colleagues in Eau Claire can piggy back on the same job post to recruit students from different parts of the state, create reoccurring posts throughout the year or easily update posts with new information without the need to duplicate or recreate information for different systems. They also have access to a wider pool of applicants.

One post gives an employer access to not only UWL students, but to students from schools all over the country that would have taken thousands of hours to individually post to different career management systems in the past, says Bald. “We have so many more opportunities in non-traditional career fields to share with students because of Handshake,” says Bald.

The central mission of Handshake’s founders was to democratize opportunity for people applying for positions. Where some career opportunities in the past never would have been accessible to students in La Crosse because of distance or a lack of connection, they are now available with the click of a button.

Handshake is free and easy to use. It also provides information about UWL’s career-related events.

Log into Handshake today.

To learn how to get started with Handshake, see the quick start guide.