Handshake job database struggling with engagement, ‘needs to do better’

By: Joshua Ceballos/News Director


The University’s Career and Talent Development (CTD) department feels that its job database isn’t getting a fair shake.

Handshake is FIU’s database site where CTD matches employers from around the country with students who are looking for employment. Jobs in Handshake range from part-time to full-time to internships, in a variety of fields.

There are thousands of jobs available on Handshake, but not enough students are taking advantage of them according to Efigenia Gonzalez-Duran, associate director for employer affairs at CTD.

“There are 81,006 profiles created for all enrolled students and alumni, but only 6,434 accounts that have actually been accessed and completed by students,” said Gonzalez-Duran. “Compared to the 5,114 jobs available in the system… the ratio doesn’t work out for us.”

Out of the 5,114 jobs currently in Handshake, 4,328 are full-time or part-time, 736 are internships, 37 are fellowships and 24 are cooperative education. This doesn’t include the 211 pending jobs that Gonzalez-Duran said she is still working on approving.

Employers come to Handshake looking to recruit students out of FIU, but they get discouraged when few or no applicants apply to the positions that they have posted. When this happens, they tend to leave, according to Gonzalez-Duran.

CTD doesn’t want employers to leave their database platform, as they see Handshake as a superior source of job placement for University students to other sites like the old Pantherjoblink resource.

“Handshake is more democratic for students and employers, it allows students to apply to any job even if they don’t meet the criteria for it, because an employer might put a lofty criteria that they don’t realize isn’t what they really want,” Gonzalez-Duran said.

Gonzalez-Duran told Student Media that she thinks the reason students aren’t engaging with it is simply because they’re unaware that the system exists.

“I think a lot of it has to do with not knowing or assuming you don’t need it right now, but part of your college career is understanding what’s out there and what employees are looking for,” she said.

Student Media polled our followers on Twitter and also around campus to see if Handshake was on students’ radars.

Out of 61 people polled, over 50% had never heard of Handshake before, and only about 18% have actually used it.

Matthew Moore, an English education junior, said that the University has so many new programs and startups advertised all the time, it’s easy to lose news about sites like Handshake in the tide of information.

Jadelyn Puig, a junior majoring in English, said that she hasn’t heard of Handshake most likely because she’s not a senior.

“I think if you’re not a senior you’re probably not thinking much about jobs and internships so you’re not actively searching for job sites. I haven’t been looking yet because I’m in my junior year,” said Puig.

The ‘only seniors should seek out jobs’ mentality is one that Gonzalez-Duran said is not safe to have, as students should be actively thinking about employment as early as possible.

For students that look to other job databases like Monster or Indeed, Gonzalez-Duran said that Handshake is better tailored for University students because CTD can negotiate on their behalf.

“If an employer is offering an unpaid internship, we understand that it may not be worth it for students, so we talk to employers and try to convince them to offer some incentive,” she said.

This semester CTD is working on live streaming its events, as well as adding more recorded workshop sessions to its website career.fiu.edu.

Upcoming events that students who are on the job search can attend are the Resume Fest on Thursday, Sept 13, in SASC 305 from 11 to 3 p.m., and the career fair in the GC Ballrooms from 11 to 3 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 17 and 18.


Featured image retrieved from Studentaffairs.fiu.edu

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