“I use Handshake because it is the bridge that connects you to opportunities that you never thought that you’d have but can change your life.”

-Brittanie R.
Spelman College

When I hear stories from students like Brittanie, who have found incredible jobs and internships on Handshake, I know we’re making a difference. Brittanie, a student at Spelman College in Atlanta, became increasingly discouraged as she heard friends talking about their upcoming summer internships. Although she was submitting multiple applications, complete with thoughtful essays and glowing letters of recommendation, she hadn’t heard back from any companies. That is, until she logged into Handshake and saw a message from an Under Armour recruiter, inviting her to apply for their Summer Rookie program! We’re thrilled that Brittanie is now finishing up a memorable summer interning at their headquarters in Baltimore.

My co-founders and I started Handshake to ensure that all students are able to find meaningful jobs, regardless of where they’re from or where they go to school. This year, more students around the country will have that chance.

First, we’re excited to announce that in the past year, we’ve added 192 partner schools to the Handshake network, representing 1.1 million new students and alumni. We’re so grateful for the amazing university and employer partnerships we’ve been able to build over the last few years. With 800+ university partners, we’re now connecting more than 14 million students and alumni with jobs and internships, which far surpasses anything we could’ve imagined when we started Handshake.

To build on this momentum, and to truly have an impact on the 43% of students nationwide that still graduate unemployed or underemployed, we need to take even bolder steps to fulfill our mission of democratizing opportunity for all students. That’s why we’ve decided to open Handshake. Starting today, any undergraduate student with a “.edu” email address from a four-year college or university can sign up for Handshake. They’ll see personalized job recommendations, get messaged by employers about incredible opportunities, apply for jobs, read employer reviews, and receive career advice from other students.

Reshaping early talent recruiting

Opening Handshake isn’t just great for students. All our partner schools will be able to see more data and insights on the overall graduating talent economy. Their students will be able to see reviews, Q&A, and insights from students and alumni at all schools. Employers are also able to build significantly more diverse and qualified applicant pools by partnering with Handshake.

Box, for example, has been focused on creating more inclusive college recruiting practices. Since partnering with us, they’ve expanded their recruiting strategy from a core list of six colleges to more than 200 campuses across the country, are proactively engaging tens of thousands of students on Handshake, and are attracting a more inclusive, qualified, and engaged talent pipeline. Box has also seen their employer brand awareness among students spike by 70% thanks to their enhanced employer profile on Handshake.

Another one of our partners, IBM, is working to inspire students from all backgrounds to explore careers in tech. The IBM team hasn’t just expanded their recruiting on Handshake; they’ve given students across the country an inside look at life at IBM by partnering with us on exciting virtual events. These events have been incredibly popular, and during the weeks after one live office tour, they received 30 times more job applications than their competitors!

The importance of our university partners

We are extremely proud of and thankful for our university partners, who truly care about helping students prepare for and connect to great opportunities. The Handshake team will be leaning in even more this year to deepen our investment in university relationships, led by Christine Cruzvergara, our VP of Higher Education & Student Success, who joined Handshake after 15 years of leadership in higher education. Our partners are key players in students’ success, and they are true champions of our mission.

Schools like Southern Methodist University (SMU) see the difference. “It’s clear that utilizing Handshake on the SMU campus is a win,” shares Crystal Clayton, Executive Director of the Hegi Family Career Development Center. “A win for our distributed career campus model. A win for student opportunity. A win for employers. And the bonus to our partnership is working with a team at Handshake that truly cares about students, helping career centers do our best work, and leveling the playing field for all college students.”

Opportunity for all college students

Opening Handshake does not shift our focus from our college and university partnerships. We always prefer to partner with schools, but we recognize that not every school has the resources or structure to partner with us yet. In the meantime, we want to make sure that more students can have access to the millions of jobs and internships on Handshake regardless of the school they attend.

Rose Nakamoto, Executive Director for Career Services at Santa Clara University, shares: “We’re excited Handshake is opening up because it means we all — universities, employers and Handshake — can collectively help more students. It’s not a zero sum game and being in education means an opportunity to serve the greater good in providing access and contributing to social mobility.”

Opening Handshake is a big step toward realizing our mission to help all students, like Brittanie, who have applied to internships and jobs and never heard back from a recruiter. But our journey is far from over, and we won’t rest until we have truly democratized access to meaningful career opportunities.

Here’s how you can be a part of this exciting new chapter:

  • Students: Sign up at joinhandshake.com to discover jobs and internships, and connect with employers.
  • Employers: Join today and start posting opportunities. We’re happy to talk with you about how Handshake can help you with early talent recruiting.
  • Universities: Help your students get the most out of the Handshake community and make sure they’re informed about the resources available to them.

By Garrett Lord, Handshake CEO