Simplifying the Job Search for SJU Students, Alumni

Thursday, January 17, 2019

by Carly Montecalvo '19

With the looming pressures of “the real world” in the back of many college students’ minds, finding the right internship or job opportunity that combines a good work environment with the most relevant experience can seem daunting. A new platform introduced last spring by Saint Joseph’s University Career Development Center is lifting the pressure by making finding these opportunities easier than ever.

Launched on campus in April 2018, the online career hub, Handshake, replaced SJU Careers to aid in students’ career search. Used by over 700 colleges and universities, Handshake matches students with companies all over the country, and not just those contingent to their university location.

The result?

Executive Director of the Career Development Center (CDC), Trish Shafer, says that hundreds of jobs are submitted to be reviewed and posted on the site for SJU students and alumni each week.

Since its implementation, Handshake has allowed for more one-on-one communication with students, and fewer phone calls into the center for forgotten passwords.

This has resulted in over a 55% increase in job postings, a number both Shafer and her staff at the CDC are thrilled to see.

“We serve all current students and all alumni, we have people that are 18 years old in the system and we have people that are 60 years old in the system” says Shafer. “We needed broader reach around jobs, and now we can address the needs of all of our students with the national nature of this platform.”

The switch, which was largely prompted by interested employers, has been embraced by the SJU community in its first nine months. As a whole, the activation rate at SJU is almost 60% versus that of peers in similar sized schools at 32%.

“I think the key is that this platform was created by students, for students, and it shows with student engagement” says Shafer.

The clean look of the interface as well as the similarities to social networking platforms is exactly what drew Danielle Henry, a senior marketing major, to explore her Handshake account more.

Henry, who started working at the Perch as a desk attendant last fall, qualifies for work study. Handshake allowed her to view the jobs that were available specifically for work study students, and apply with ease.

“I like how simple it is,” explained Henry. “You can just submit your resume online and it will update you if someone has viewed your application.”

Shafer says the ultimate goal of the CDC is 100% activation rate on Handshake, they want every student to log-in to their account and explore the many jobs available.

Next up for Shafer and the Career Development Center is the Spring Career Fair, which will be held on Thursday, February 14 at 10 a.m. in the Athletic Center.




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