Handshake is a tool that connects students and alumni directly with employers and opportunities, along with career advisors and career-related events and workshops. Handshake was created with students in mind and hosts the largest number of opportunities specifically for students and new college graduates.
More than 36,000 opportunities posted last year
In 2019-2020, employers from more than 60 industries posted over 36,000 opportunities to VCU’s Handshake platform, including jobs, internships, cooperative education, experiential learning, fellowships, graduate school programs and assistantships, on-campus student employment and volunteer opportunities.
|Jobs and on-campus employment||Internships||Experiential learning and volunteering||Fellowships and graduate programs|
How to use Handshake
For tips on using Handshake, select a topic below:
Log in at joinhandshake.com.
Your Handshake account is automatically created 48 hours after you have enrolled in courses at VCU — no need to do anything before then, we make it easy for you! Any accounts created prior to that 48-hour period will be automatically deleted since they won’t sync properly with VCU systems. If you need further assistance, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Complete a profile that highlights your interests, skills and studies
Drive up your profile completion (thus making your profile more appealing to employers) by filling out all the different sections. VCU preloads some of your information, usually based on data from Banner. Check to be sure all preloaded information is correct, especially your major and GPA; if you find any errors, contact Career Services as soon as possible!
Here are the steps that you can take to make your profile as complete as possible:
- Fill out your Education Section by clicking the pencil next to your name. Make sure you have your Major and Start/End Dates filled out.
- Fill out your Work Experience. Make sure your Work Experience has a Job title, Employer, Time Period and Location.
- Add an Organization and Extracurricular Activities.
- Add multiple skills, documents, courses, and/or projects.
- Complete “Your Interests” for job type, job location, and job role. 80% of students who share their interests get a message from a recruiter. Handshake also uses your job interests to recommend opportunities to you. You can update these preferences as often as you like for a customized feed.
- Add a professional profile picture.
- Set your profile to public by clicking “Settings & Privacy” under your profile icon. If your profile is public, you’ll show up in searches when they’re recruiting for jobs and internships. Your profile will not be public to employers that have not been approved by VCU or to anyone without a Handshake account.
- Update your profile regularly. Take time every semester to make sure your profile is up-to-date.
Set up career advising appointments
You can make appointments with career advisors through Handshake. Once logged into Handshake, Click "Career Center.” Click Appointments, then Schedule a New Appointment. Select VCU Career Services. (If you are a School of Business or College of Engineering student, we encourage you to schedule with your respective office first and are happy to support additional needs you may have.) Select your appointment type (major/career advising, document review, etc.), then click different dates to see availability. You can meet with any Career Advisor, regardless of specialty. Finishing by selecting your appointment medium (video, phone, or email (if applicable)).
Sign up for events and workshops
From topical workshops and presentations to on-campus interviews and career fairs, VCU Career Services works to get you “career ready” and connect you with employers and alumni throughout the school year.
Events: Click the “Events” tab on the Handshake homepage to see upcoming events. You can also use the calendar view to see events. If you are looking for a specific type of event, you can search upcoming events with the “Event Search” tab. Some events have limited space and require you to preregister; you can pre-register for an event by clicking on the “Register” or “External Registration” on the event page.
Career Fairs: To see upcoming career fairs, click on "Fair Search" on the events page. Select the fair you wish to attend to see more information. If you want to register, click on "+ Join Event" in the top right of the page. If you would like to view employers who will be attending the fair, click on the blue button for “See More Employers” to see a full list of registered employers with detailed employer descriptions and additional details. You can also see and download the fair map by clicking the “Map” tab, which can help you plan your time at the fair.
Search for jobs and internships
With thousands of employers posting jobs and internships on the platform, Handshake can be an incredibly powerful tool for your internship and job searches, but possibly a bit overwhelming on first glance. Taking some time to understand Handshake's search functionality will help you identify the best jobs for you.
Start by clicking on Jobs in the upper-middle of your home page. The Job Search page will load by default. On this page, there are various options available to view available jobs and narrow down your search.You can adjust filters to tailor your job search. Don’t forget to use VCU-specific labels, including “GRTC Accessible,” “Walking Distance Monroe Park,” and “Walking Distance MCV”. Once you've added all desired search criteria, click See Jobs in the lower-right corner of the search/filter box.
If you want to receive alerts when more jobs in your search are posted, you'll have to save your search. To save your search, click on "Save your search", located above the list of jobs that appear on the left of the page. A pop-up will appear in the lower-right corner of the page that confirms "job alert created", and the box with "Save your search" will now provide a link to "Edit your notifications".
To ensure the best experience with Handshake, do your due diligence and research all employers you are interested in. Check out the company website listed on their Handshake profile to see what you can learn about their culture and their business model. If they have a list of staff members, see if you can find the name of the recruiter listed on the job posting.
Be sure to check employer reviews written by other students on Handshake. These reviews allow you to:
- Explore careers and make decisions with more information
- Get advice specific to the companies and roles you’re interested in
- Gain insight into company culture, mentorship, and learning, which is often harder to gauge
Don’t accept a job you didn’t apply to and/or didn’t require an interview or the organization that gives you one day to accept. Any reputable employer normally requires an interview (and more) before hiring. Put your excitement on pause. Speak with a trusted person about your interaction with the company and documents you are asked to sign. Keep copies of all communication.
If something feels “too good to be true,” be suspicious. You may see a job on Handshake that says you can "make $300 in a day from home.” Large sums of money for minimal work is a common tactic that a scammer will use to lure students in and steal your information.
If you encounter an employer that elicits concern, you have the ability to alert Handshake’s Fraud Team by flagging the employer in Handshake.
For more industry-specific ideas of where and how to research employers, check out VCU Career Services’ career pathways pages.
Applying for jobs
When you are ready to apply, click on “Apply,” “Quick Apply,” or “Apply Externally,” as applicable for that particular job. Here is the difference between those choices:
- Quick Apply: indicates that the application isn't external, there are no documents required for that job posting, and you meet all of the employer preferences.
- Apply: indicates that at least one document is required to apply.
- Apply Externally: will open a new browser page with the application hosted on a site outside of Handshake. You will receive an email confirmation of application from Handshake once this button is clicked, but you will have to complete the application on the external site in order to fully apply. The employer will not receive your application if you do not apply through the external website.
If you are not ready to apply for a job, you can click the star next to the job title to save the post to your favorites list. Handshake will send you notifications about any jobs in your favorites list. You can access your favorites by clicking “My Favorite Jobs” on the job search page.
Six reasons to use Handshake
1. Apply where you have the advantage.
Handshake is the only place that connects you, VCU and employers together. You’ll find jobs and internships posted specifically for VCU students.
2. Recruiters want to talk to you.
Employers on Handshake can message students with event invites, interview requests and new job opportunities. Last year, recruiters sent more than 16 million direct messages to students.
3. No experience required.
The jobs on Handshake are meant for students like you, so you can get the work experience you want and need.
4. Find the right job for you.
When you fill out your Handshake profile, you will automatically see jobs and internships that match your interests and skills. You may even discover a new career path or an organization you hadn’t considered.
5. Start earning and gaining relevant experience right away.
If your top priority right now is finding a part-time position on or off campus, Handshake is also the best place to find VCU-approved Federal Work-Study positions, paid undergraduate research opportunities, and local and remote part-time jobs.
6. Connect to the organizations you want to work for.
All of the top employers are recruiting students on Handshake, including Fortune 500, startups, nonprofits and more.