Attending a Handshake Event
By Jack Devine
Many events listed on Handshake are not organized by the Office of Career Planning and Professional Development. These events are coordinated by Handshake and employers. While these events are not specifically designed for students and alumni of the CUNY Graduate Center, you can still learn a lot by attending them. Don’t be surprised if the event takes place on a video platform that you haven’t downloaded. The choice of the communication platform is decided by the employers.
I attended an event hosted by Material. Material is a global strategy, insights, design, and technology partner to companies striving for true customer centricity and ongoing relevance in a digital first, customer-led world. By registering for the event, I established a connection with an employee at Material. The Talent Acquisition Specialist reached out to me directly which provided me with the chance to start a conversation with him. Not only did this create an opportunity to learn more about the Material, but it also expanded my network of contacts at the company if I ended up being interested in applying for a job there. I thanked him for reaching out and confirmed that I would be attending the Portfolio Development Seminar.
The Portfolio Development Seminar was a deeply valuable educational experience. I learned what the employer is looking for in a new hire. Material wants to hire someone with a dynamic portfolio that illustrates an applicant’s ability to develop their skills over time. I was given the opportunity to follow up and ask questions to the employees in order to learn more about their experience at the company. They discussed their own portfolios and how Material offers the space to build off of the creativity they have demonstrated in the past. Material employees also shared how they believe the company is a welcoming place that values diverse perspectives and believes that different voices and viewpoints make them stronger.
The Talent Acquisition Specialist followed up with me after the event to check in on how I felt about it and provided me with valuable information about Material. He linked to their Handshake homepage where you can discover potential job opportunities with them. One of the available positions is a Research Associate. This is a type of job that may interest graduate students looking for a career outside of academia.
Attending a Handshake event enabled me to build a relationship with the representative of an employer, learn more about the job application process and the company culture, as well as discover potential opportunities for employment. I would recommend attending these events if you’re looking to start a new career.