This semester, Career Services switched their career planning platform from Lion’s Link to a new system called Handshake. Lion’s Link was the first digital program implemented by the university, but this transition will benefit students as it is a user-friendly program to navigate through, according to Career Services.
Handshake is a program used by numerous universities nationwide and within the first 30 days of transition, Career Services had thousands of employers reaching out to recruit Vanguard students and alumni.
One of the improvements with this new system is that all students are already registered with their Vanguard email so they can sign right in without having to register. They are also able to track deadlines of job openings, and specify what kind of positions they are looking for.
For the past five years, Jennifer Smith has been the Associate Director of Career Services and has enjoyed partnering with students in preparing them to stand out for current and future job opportunities.
“There were challenges in navigating with Lion’s Link, and we found that we weren’t using the system to its fullest capacity. One of the reasons we chose Handshake is because it is so user-friendly,” said Smith.
There are currently just under 2,000 employers in the Handshake system who have been approved to posting jobs, internships and/or volunteer opportunities for Vanguard students and alumni.
Additionally there are 1,000 pending employers that the Career Services team are vetting through on a daily basis. Some companies already had a connection with Vanguard, while others have reached out to Career Services since they are using the new program.
One of the main benefits of Handshake is that it allows Career Services to categorize students within their designated major and job experience to match students with careers or internships that they are interested in.
Handshake has benefits to employers as there are no fees as there originally were with Lion’s Link. Handshake allows employers to manage all of their Handshake campus recruiting at no cost.
“Employers love Handshake because once they’re in the system, they can advertise their opportunities to multiple schools at no cost.” Smith said. “With the other system that we used to use, if an employer wanted to advertise to multiple schools, there was a fee incurred.”
Just as students can search for specific jobs, Handshake allows employers to search through on the back end to type in information and enter criteria to be seeking out students within their needed positions.
Sophomore Vanessa Lee-Salter had previously used Lion’s Link to find work opportunities and connected with Career Services to see what options were available to her.
“With Handshake, it is easier to mobilize through,” Lee-Salter said. “As soon as you setup your account, everything is in one place: your resume, class status, and employers can see your progress as well.”
Just two weeks after she set up her Handshake profile, an employer reached out to Lee-Salter and through Handshake she has been able to expand her resources.
“Handshake is a really good program that formats everything really nice and neat for you so you can get plugged in and use your resources,” Lee-Salter said. “I think it’s a great resource to have even if you have a job, or even if you think you’re set, you can improve your experience as a student.”
Career Services offers 45-minute advising appointments that can be made through Handshake. Drop-in appointments are also available on Wednesday’s and Thursday’s from 1-3 p.m. Career Services offers a full list of advising topics. At minimum, students are encouraged to have Career Services go over their resume before it is submitted on Handshake.