As of this summer, undergraduate and graduate students across all nine Hopkins campuses will have access to Handshake, an online career services platform which allows students to search for jobs and internships.
While the program has been available to Homewood students since 2015, this new rollout of the platform will allow students at the School of Medicine, the Peabody Institute, the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), the School of Nursing, the School of Education and the Carey Business School to access Handshake as well.
Handshake allows students to create profiles based on their academic and professional experiences and share those profiles with a list of about 50,000 University-approved employers. Handshake also alerts students of career-related events at Hopkins, such as job fairs, and can be used to make appointments with career coaches.
The new rollout of Handshake follows several other changes to Career Services in the 2018-2019 school year. These include the assignment of career coaches to first-year students on the Homewood Campus via the Launch Program and the hiring of Farouk Dey as the new vice provost for integrative learning and life design position. These changes are a part of the Student Services Excellence Initiative (SSEI), an effort to improve student services across the University.
In an email to The News-Letter, Jim Aumiller, the executive director of SSEI, explained that making Handshake available to every branch of the University benefits both students and employers.
“In the past employers would have to deal with eight different offices to post their positions, therefore, making Hopkins a very difficult institution to work with,” he wrote. “With Handshake, they now have a portal to all Hopkins students and Hopkins students now have access to all opportunities posted on the Handshake network.”
Christy Murray, the executive director of the Career Development Office of the Carey Business School, explained that the rollout of Handshake is a way of increasing coordination and communication between the different branches of the University.
“We were excited to be in a multi-user environment for the first time in Johns Hopkins history,” she said.
Murray also said that the Career Development Office will focus more on helping students develop networks based on their career interests in the upcoming school year. Additionally, the different branches of Hopkins will be in closer communication in a system known as the ‘network model.’
“Every single year we’ve looked at how we can do something better or different to be able to best meet the needs of our students and our employers,” she said. “We spent a lot of time through research and evaluation and working very closely as a team of our 20 professional staff to launch the network model, and with that launch Handshake, and look at how to best integrate and align all of our resources.”
In an email to The News-Letter, Ann Garner, the executive director of the Homewood Career Center, addressed some upcoming changes to career services for Homewood students, including the initiation of a program for freshmen.
“Launch connects each freshman student with a career coach and opportunities to explore careers, learn about internships and more,” she wrote.
As part of the First-Year Launch Program, students in each first-year mentor group will be assigned to the same career coach.
Sophomore Lauren Paulet, a career ambassador at the Homewood Career Center, said that she has used resources offered by the Career Center to help find internships in the past.
“I received a lot of personalized help just by asking questions and by reaching out, and I think that’s something every one of our students need to do,” she said.
She believes that the Launch Program is an important improvement to career services and will help freshmen build career-based networks.
“The Launch Program that they’re piloting is an excellent way to reach out to first-year students and keep them networked for the rest of their time at Hopkins,” she said.
Paulet also explained that making Handshake available to students at graduate schools is especially important, because they enter the workforce at a higher rate than undergraduates.
Caroline Lupetini, a senior and first year MA student at SAIS in Bologna, said that she knew how to navigate Handshake when it became available to SAIS students because she had used it during her time on the Homewood Campus.
“We just switched over to Handshake, which coming from undergrad I was really familiar with, but I do understand why some people have been getting confused,” she said.
Lupetini believes that the distance between SAIS and other branches of Hopkins may make coordination between the schools difficult.
“I think it’s tough because SAIS is so far removed from Baltimore, so I’m not necessarily seeing any connection yet,” she said. “I know it’s still really new.”
Sophomore Mecca McDonald noted that many of the listings on Handshake are geared toward upperclassmen.
“As a freshman, it was hard for me to find internships or jobs I could do over the summer, because they mostly want juniors or seniors,” she said. “They have a lot of useful resources on there that I’m hoping that maybe when I’m a junior or senior I can use, but it just sucks that I have to wait.”
McDonald also believes that students fail to take advantage of services offered by Career Services because of its lack of visibility.
“I feel like a lot of students don’t know about Handshake or the resources that the Career Center offers,” she said. “Maybe professors could mention it.”
While on the Homewood Campus, Lupetini said that the Career Center did not offer many options for humanities students.
“I did not feel very supported as someone who doesn’t really want to go into anything with public health or medicine or consulting or finance, which I know that the Career Center has a lot of resources on,” Lupetini said.
She believes that, in the future, the Career Center should offer more resources for students interested in humanities-based organizations.
“I have a feeling that it’s going to be a lot better with getting more think tank, NGO things onto Handshake, especially with employers having a presence on the JHU platform,” Lupetini said. “That was the big thing, it just felt like not a lot of options.”