NJIT’s 2018 Fall Career Fair, held Sept. 26 at the university’s Wellness and Events Center, welcomed 215 employers primed to recruit applicants for full-time positions, internships and co-ops. It also embraced a new career services management platform called Handshake, designed to both optimize the job search experience for students and enable employers to easily reach candidates nationwide.
“Handshake was launched in 2015 as a venture capital-backed startup,” noted Greg Mass, executive director of NJIT’s Career Development Services (CDS). “We had been tracking their growth and progress since 2016, and made the decision to convert to this platform this year.”
The “one-stop” Handshake, which replaces CDSlink at NJIT, works as follows: Students (and job-seeking alumni) create a profile listing their skills, past work experience, volunteerism and professional affiliations. Through their profile, they can also indicate the type of jobs, industries, geographic locations and company cultures that interest them. Further, they can share experiences with peers, link to company pages in Handshake and connect directly with CDS to schedule appointments with career advisers and sign up for workshops, events and on-campus interviews.
Not only does Handshake expose jobseekers to 200,000 companies across the country and from all sectors, including every Fortune 500 corporation, it provides personalized job alerts along with job-search tips as well.
Daniela Bushiri, an NJIT sophomore studying chemical engineering, can vouch for the value of Handshake. “When I was preparing for the career fair, I was pleased to see that Handshake made it easier to navigate which companies were coming to the career fair, what they were recruiting for and where to find them on the day [of the fair]. It definitely made the career fair seem less daunting, since I could easily prepare for it,” remarked Bushiri, who through Handshake learned of and registered for an information session held by ExxonMobil. “At the career fair, I was able to express my interest in the company’s research and thereafter was offered an interview on campus.”
Bushiri is one of nearly 4,200 NJIT students active in Handshake. On the employer side, all of the employers with which CDS is engaged — 4,500 in number — use the platform.
“It’s extremely beneficial that [NJIT is] using a universal platform,” commented Danielle Lessard, university relations coordinator, HR talent management at MassMutual. “Since most schools we’ve developed relationships with use Handshake, having NJIT on Handshake has enabled us to connect far more efficiently.”
CDS itself used Handshake to send promotional emails to employers and confirm career fair registration for recruiters and students. “Its impact was evident in the number of new companies registered for the fair, such as Celgene, RBC Capital Markets, Grubhub and Ports America,” said Jane Gaertner, CDS associate director of employer relations. “This expanded a range of opportunities for our well-known talent from our engineering, IT and architecture disciplines, as well as other jobseekers in our growing disciplines such as accounting, science and math.”
Added Mass about the platform, “We are excited at the increased prospects for our students as we continue to provide innovative resources like Handshake to our students, graduates and employers.”
Here’s a look at the 2018 Fall Career Fair and some of the many connections that were made.