NEWS

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October 2, 2015

Say hello to Handshake

Starting this academic year, Chicago Career Connection—previously University of Chicago students’ premier connection to off-campus professional opportunities—has been replaced by Handshake, a smaller startup that Career Services hopes will be able to adapt its offerings to University’s unique set of programs. The new system went live for students this August.

“We just felt that it was the technology that was holding us back. There were great opportunities—it was never the opportunities. It was the way the students sought the opportunities, applied for them and searched for them,” said Meredith Daw, head of Career Advancement.

This year, the Office of Student Employment will be folded into the Office of Career Services, and on-campus employment and work study will also be accessed through Handshake.

Some of Handshake’s features promise to improve student navigation of the range of opportunities offered through Career Advancement. According to Daw, students will be able to better track submitted applications and employers that pique their interest. An algorithm will track student activity on the system and curate a set of other activities they might be interested in.

Students sometimes reported that the old system was “cumbersome to use” according to Daw. One common complaint was the requirement that students use a complicated system of job IDs in order to search the system; under Handshake, this will no longer be the case.

Handshake is also built to be accessed on Smartphones and tablets, so that students can make appointments with career advisers or navigate career fairs from the palm of their hands.

Daw especially emphasized the ability of Handshake to accommodate University of Chicago career programs—its treks, externships and largest-in-the-nation internship programs—that are not offered, at least at the same scale, at most other colleges and universities.

“Symplicity wasn’t designed to support those types of programs because they weren’t standard, cut-and-canned career programs for undergraduate students,” said Daw. “And because they were such a large vendor they weren’t able to provide the customization that we thought we needed.”

Chicago Career Connection was the on-campus brand for Symplicity, a platform developed through the National Association of Colleges and Employers, a non-profit representing career services professionals at colleges and universities and interested employers. Symplicity remains the market leader in providing career services software to colleges and universities.

“I think there are a lot of really great things about Symplicity. From an employer perspective, they’re really used to using the system—it's really easy for them to do all the schools that they’re recruiting at through one platform,” said Daw.

But employers seem to be following the University over from Symplicity. A larger class of employers signed up for fall recruiting this year than ever before, according to Daw. Daw gave credit for the successful reception to employer satisfaction with the new system and other prominent schools that have already moved over to the new system. (Yale and Princeton also announced that they were adopting the new system this school year).

Some parts of students’ new Handshake profiles will be auto-populated, but information and documents submitted to Chicago Career Connection will have to be reentered into the new system. mic year, Chicago Career Connection—previously University of Chicago students’ premier connection to off-campus professional opportunities—has been replaced by Handshake, a smaller startup that Career Services hopes will be able to adapt its offerings to University’s unique set of programs. The new system went live for students this August.

“We just felt that it was the technology that was holding us back. There were great opportunities—it was never the opportunities. It was the way the students sought the opportunities, applied for them and searched for them,” said Meredith Daw, head of Career Advancement.

This year, the Office of Student Employment will be folded into the Office of Career services, and on-campus employment and work study will also be accessed through Handshake.

Some of Handshake’s features promise to improve student navigation of the range of opportunities offered through Career Advancement. According to Daw, students will be able to better track submitted applications and employers that pique their interest. An algorithm will track student activity on the system and curate a set of other activities they might be interested in.

Students sometimes reported that the old system was “cumbersome to use” according to Daw. She added that one common complaint was the requirement that students use a system of job IDs in order to search the system; under Handshake, this will no longer be the case.

Handshake is also built to be accessed on Smartphones and tablets, so that students can make appointments with career advisers or navigate career fairs from the palm of their hands.

Daw especially emphasized the ability of Handshake to accommodate University of Chicago career programs—its treks, externships and largest-in-the-nation internship programs—that are not offered, at least at the same scale, at most other colleges and universities.

“Symplicity wasn’t designed to support those types of programs because they weren’t standard, cut-and-canned career programs for undergraduate students,” said Daw. “And because they were such a large vendor they weren’t able to provide the customization that we thought we needed.”

Chicago Career Connection was the on-campus brand for Symplicity, a platform developed through the National Association of Colleges and Employers, a non-profit representing career services professionals at colleges and universities and interested employers. Symplicity remains the market leader in providing career services software to colleges and universities.

“I think there are a lot of really great things about Symplicity. From an employer perspective, they’re really used to using the system—it's really easy for them to do all the schools that they’re recruiting at through one platform,” said Daw.

But employers seem to be following the University over from Symplicity. A larger class of employers signed up for fall recruiting this year than ever before, according to Daw. Daw gave credit for the successful reception to employer satisfaction with the new system and other prominent schools that have already moved over to the new system. (Yale and Princeton also announced that they were adopting the new system this school year).

Some parts of students’ new Handshake profiles will be auto-populated, but information and documents submitted to Chicago Career Connection will have to be reentered into the new system.

Clarification 10/15/2015: Users did not have to memorize job IDs to use Symplicity.

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