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Students now connected with online career community Handshake

Barry McNamara
MONMOUTH, Ill. – Every Monmouth College student knows about Facebook, and most are exposed to LinkedIn as their education unfolds.

Now Monmouth students can be part of an online community that has elements of both.

Handshake, which bills itself as “the largest career community for students and recent grads,” is now available at Monmouth, thanks to the efforts of the College’s Wackerle Center for Career, Leadership & Fellowships.

“The way I like to describe Handshake is a combination of Facebook of LinkedIn,” said Jenny Sanberg, Monmouth assistant director of career development and internship coordinator. “It’s designed to connect students and employers, and make the search process easier for our students.”

Sanberg said Handshake also has a characteristic of another platform.

“After you’ve spent some time on it, it becomes like Netflix and makes suggestions for you based on your recent history on the site,” she said.

More than 400,000 employers are on Handshake, but the site is more than a job board. It helps students get job and internship recommendations that match their interests and skills, as well as provide a platform to ask for advice from students who found jobs.

Sanberg said those employers run the gamut, from Google and “Big Four” accounting firms such as Deloitte and Ernst & Young, to local employers including Jamieson Community Center, the Warren County United Way and the Warren County YMCA.

“It’s across the board, and one of the things our office is doing is driving to the site other employers we have relationships with,” said Sanberg.

Monmouth students have already been added to the Handshake site. To begin experiencing the benefits, Sanberg said students simply need to access their profiles, formatting them the way they want them and posting information they want employers to see.

Once on the site, students can search through postings, using filters such as location and keywords. When they find positions that interest them, they can apply instantly and to as many jobs as they choose.

“We’re up and running now,” said Sanberg. “We’re trying to get the student population aware. It’s a great opportunity for them to build relationships with employers.”

Another advantage of the site will be seen in February, when Monmouth collaborates with Knox College on a job fair that will be run through Handshake.

Monmouth students will quickly see the benefits of the online community, and Sanberg said another audience will also benefit.

“Handshake is available to our alumni, as well,” she said. “They just need to use a gmail account to connect with our site,”