Saturday, March 6, 2021

Students shake hands with new platform

SUNY Plattsburgh students now have the opportunity to connect with employers and build their future through a new system implementation called Handshake.

This semester, students are able to view and apply for job postings for part-time and full-time employment and internships, receive feedback on resumes and cover letters, and more.

“Handshake makes it easy,” Career Development Center Director Tobi Hay said. “The easier we can make [finding] employers, the better it is for students.”

The new platform is being used at multiple SUNY universities such as Oneonta, Potsdam, Oswego, Stony Brook and Geneseo. Many others are using Symplicity, the vendor behind the old platform called CardinalConnect and Purple Briefcase. However, the college became familiar with Handshake over time, and having peer institutions use Handshake makes it easier for the CDC center to network and share ideas as they are setting the platform up, Hay said.

Similar to CareerShift, a useful tool students can use for searching for employers and contacts by geographic area, industry and interest, the new platform shows opportunities on and off campus.

“I like that there are options for on campus and off campus,” freshman Jonathon Gibbs said. “I like that it shows you the list of jobs there are to apply for.”

Students find Handshake easy to navigate, Hay said. There is also an app available on mobile devices called Handshake Jobs and Careers. On the app, students can showcase themselves character and find career fairs, events, jobs and make appointments with career center counselors.

“The way you applied on [Cardinal Connect] was not easy at all,” senior Public Relations major Melissa Bruno said. “With Handshake, your profile is all set up and it tells you if you meet the requirements [employers] have.”

These favorable s  However, Gibbs disliked the process of recovering feedback, after he applied to multiple jobs and hadn’t received a response.

“I applied for the Technology Club, and I didn’t hear back. I don’t know what else to do, it just seems like your aimlessly applying,” Gibbs said. “I don’t know what the next step is once I apply.”

Bruno had also experienced this issue, after applying to multiple jobs at the beginning of the semester and hadn’t heard back. Employers may not be checking emails or applications,  . It’s either an issue within the program itself or employers unable to connect to the platform or keep updated. It’s a bug student’s wish to be resolved.

Lagginess when launching the app on PC, as well as a lack of filters that actually work may become an issue, Gibbs said. As a new app, Handshake is still working out the kinks.

“We do not recommend that Handshake be the only place students look for internships and full time positions,” Hay said. “We have many other resources.”

This platform was launched in the summer after a year of searching through multiple vendors. Handshake is meant to prompt students to consider specific career fields and make it easier to search for job openings. Along with other resources such as CandidCareer and CareerShift, it is meant as a convenient tool.

“It has a great concept behind it,” Gibbs said. “I believe it needs to be worked on and tweaked a little bit to fully perform its duties.”

Students should not only be looking in Handshake, but also CareerShift, a favorite of the CDC staff, Hay said. The center also encourages students at all class levels to make an appointment with a staff member to aid in choosing a major, job and internship searches, graduate school information, post college options and career exploration.

“What helps build careers is experience,” Hay said. “Handshake is user-friendly for both students and employers.”

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