Twelve Things You Can Do in Handshake

Okay, okay, okay–truth be told I really wanted to refer to this article as “Handshake Hacks” or “How to Hack Handshake” purely for the alliterative quality, but I refuse to misuse such a cherished term around the Institute with some things that Handshake is actually built to do. To help you make the most of Handshake, I have assembled these (mild seasonal referenced) twelve not-so-obvious features of the platform. Perhaps during winter break is the perfect time to explore a bit more about what you can do in Handshake as well!

Now, here are 12 things you might not have realized that you can do in Handshake:

1. Search to Match Employer Preferences

Filters are a great way to make the thousands of opportunities in Handshake more manageable to search through. Are you not sure who may be interested in hiring a first-year intern? The “All Filters” section on the Jobs-tab allows you to filter opportunities where your profile matches the “Employer Preferences”.

Pro-tip: click on the caret (^) to filter by selected preferences only (i.e. School Year: Freshman).

Even with this filter, some positions may still be mislabeled. You will still want to read the full job description before applying, however this tip will help eliminate any positions that specifically exclude first years.


2. Revise your interests

You may have set these already when you first logged in, but you can revisit this page by clicking on your Profile icon and selecting “My Career Interests”. Updating your interests is one way that Handshake learns to recommend new internships, upcoming events, and resources.

Another great way to catch the eye of employers is to update your Profile. Handshake makes it easy to start to build your profile by uploading your resume.


3. Sync your calendar

Avoid missing that upcoming event (or interview!) by syncing your calendar with Handshake. Under “Settings,” Handshake provides a URL you can use to sync your calendar, or you can download a static iCalendar file too. It also helps when you have an upcoming appointment with CAPD–I know I appreciate the reminders of when you’re coming to meet with me.


4. Upload transcripts

Now that your classes are over, you might want to upload a copy of your MIT transcript in case an employer needs it as part of your application. Handshake allows you to upload versions of your resume, cover letter, and additional documentation as well.

For all documents, it definitely helps to revisit it from time to time to make certain your currently visible resume to employers has the recent UROP or class project added. You can easily edit who can view your documents too.


5. Message your peers

Not only do you have the ability to message fellow MIT students, you also have the ability to message students at other Handshake schools as well. Search student profiles, and connect with them via the messaging feature for tips and advice.

This is a great way to start to conduct informational interviews with fellow students who might have interned at places you are hoping to land an opportunity with someday soon.


6. Manage notifications

Feeling overwhelmed with notifications? Handshake provides you with control over how it communicates with you about upcoming events, appointments, messages from employers, and other notifications–whether it is through email or your mobile device if you have the app installed. You can adjust your notifications under “Notification Preferences” located in your “Settings.”

As your needs evolve over your time at MIT, be sure to revisit this section of Handshake to make certain you are getting the notifications you want and need.


7. Change your privacy settings

Handshake provides you control over who can see your profile. Haven’t had a chance to fill out your profile yet? No worries! You can mark it as private until you are ready. But don’t keep it private too long. Employers may be on the lookout for a candidate like you and you will need to adjust your privacy settings so that they can contact you about potential opportunities with their organization.

Even the “student version” of me gets invited to interviews, events, and meetings with employers on occasion. So if my bare-bones profile can get noticed, just imagine what yours can do!


8. Read/Leave a review

You can look at places like Glassdoor to get insight on companies, but if you’re just looking for an internship you may want to hear from other interns as well. Handshake allows you to read and write reviews about your experiences.

Since your name is attached to any review you write, I recommend that you provide honest and constructive feedback. You may also want to review Handshake’s Content Guidelines to help you draft your review. Finally, if your experience with an employer is in anyway problematic, please set up an appointment with CAPD so we can discuss your experience and help you.


9. Set and edit your pronouns

Pronouns are a way that others can address us, and therefore they became an important way to affirm our identifies and show respect. In addition to editing your preferred name, Handshake allows you to add and edit your pronouns and gender. You also have the ability to control who can see this information as well.

If you are not certain why being able to add/edit your pronouns is a big deal, I encourage you to watch this brief video created by LBGTQ@MIT.


10. Post questions to employers about certain job opportunities

Some employers may be open to receiving messages and questions from students directly through Handshake. On certain job postings you may see a button on the job that allows you to send a message to a specific person, or you may want to see who is listed on the Employer page under the Public Staff listing.

Please note: CAPD is unable to provide employer contact information unless they have people listed on the Public Staff listing. If you are attempting to navigate an employer situation, feel free to schedule an appointment with CAPD to discuss what might be the best way forward for you.


11. Use Handshake on your iOS/Android device

You can access Handshake on your smartphone! If you want to schedule an appointment, review job applications, or connect with fellow students, Handshake is available for both iOS and Android devices.


12. Explore Handshake’s Help Center for more helpful tips

There is so much that Handshake can help you with (and I don’t want to stand between you and other things that might be helpful for you). So take a moment and look through Handshake’s Help Center. Here you can get help, find articles, or just browse features.

Their Help Center is regularly updated, and Handshake is always evolving. So if you want to see some of the latest things Handshake is doing, this is a great place to check out.

By Erik Pavesic
Erik Pavesic Assistant Director, Career Advising & Training