Creating Your Handshake Profile
By Misty Crooks
Your Handshake Profile
Welcome to the next blog in our series on making the most of Handshake, CP&PD’s new job search management platform. See our previous post for an overview of Handshake and what you can do with it. To manage your job search, you will want to complete your Handshake profile. There are several advantages to a complete Handshake profile. With everything in place, you can more quickly apply for opportunities you find. You can also set your profile to be viewable by employers, meaning your profile is working for you even when you are not actively applying. Getting your profile ready takes anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes, from uploading/entering information to proofreading for any errors. Read on for instructions on how to complete your Handshake profile.
Setting Up the Basics
Once you are logged in to Handshake, click the icon with your initials or photo in the top right corner. Select My Profile from the dropdown menu. CP&PD has already filled in some of your basic information. You should see your name, university, degree, and department in bold on the left side. Under this information is your expected graduation date. Click the edit symbol to change any of this information. You can also add a photo here. A couple of things to keep in mind: The Handshake system and employers use your graduation date to determine which opportunities you qualify for. Make sure to update it in case of changes so you are matched with the right opportunities. Additionally, research has shown that LinkedIn profiles with photos get more attention. Select a photo for Handshake that is clear and professional. You can learn more with our webinar series on LinkedIn and networking. Once you have entered or updated your basic info, click save to update your profile.
Uploading Your Resume
Handshake uses banners at the top of the platform screen to give recommendations on completing your profile. If you have not uploaded your resume or completed your profile, you will see a banner that recommends uploading your resume, the fastest way to get started on your profile. Similar to other job search platforms, this will populate many of your relevant fields. Click Upload to open the file upload dialog box. You will see entries for your educational institutions and work experiences. You will need to go down the list clicking the Add button for each entry to list it on your profile. You can also manually add schools and work experiences. Just look for the Add link under these sections.
It is essential to read through these auto-populated sections of your profile to ensure they are free of formatting and other errors. This also allows you to have another look at your resume so that it presents you in the best light possible. In addition to fixing any spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors, this means your resume is updated with your latest skill sets as well as tailored to the types of jobs you want. When an organization title is added, Handshake opens a section to give more details: position, dates, location, and description. Under Projects, you can list publications, conferences, websites, etc. There is a space to list URLs so that employers can see your website or other examples of your work.
After adding your resume sections, scroll up to the top of your profile to fill out the My Journey section. This field is similar to the About Me section on LinkedIn. This is the place to present the narrative of your career journey, let employers know what you are looking for, and explain what you bring to positions. You can write a metanarrative that ties together the different aspects of your profile.
The left-hand column of your main profile page contains a series of sections that allow you to manage personal information, skills, and profile visibility. Underneath your basic info section, a metric shows you how complete your profile is. The next section allows you to make your profile visible to employers. Click the Make Profile Public to Employers button or go to Settings to select the level of profile visibility and click Save Update. For full visibility, select Community, which makes your profile visible to all employers, students, and alumni across the entire Handshake platform. Otherwise, select private or employers only. Please note that if you have selected Community, your profile will be listed publicly on Handshake for any events you register for.
The section for interests has categories to select for the status of your job search, positions of interest, and location. This information is only visible to employers or the account holder, based on the settings described above. The remaining sections are Personal Information, Skills, and Documents. You can edit these to manage your info, change and upload your resume, cover letter, and transcripts, and add skills.
Last but not least, schedule an appointment with one of our career advisors to go over your job search materials. A strong resume and cover letter are the starting points for getting the job offers you want. If you have any questions about your Handshake profile, contact the Office of Career Planning and Professional Development.