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Saturday, December 2, 2023

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Handshake allows SDSU students to search jobs, internships, workshops and schedule appointments with their career development coordinator. (Aaron Burgin/SDSU) Handshake allows SDSU students to search jobs, internships, workshops and schedule appointments with their career development coordinator. (Aaron Burgin/SDSU)

Say Hello with Handshake

SDSU's Career Services platform helps students prepare for and find internships and jobs.
By Aaron Burgin

The SDSU Handshake is no secret. 


Handshake is entering its fifth year as the university’s online career platform, and San Diego State University Career Services officials want more students to take advantage of the platform’s plethora of services: job and internship postings, sign-ups for workshops and career fairs and more. 


“Students should register for Handshake as soon as they begin school,” said Danny Newell, executive director of Career Services. “Early access to career services will help them prepare for their future careers. It takes years to establish the skills, subject matter expertise and experience to become a high-impact early career professional. The earlier students begin planning, the better.”


Currently, a little more than half of undergraduate students — 53.4% — activate their Handshake accounts. The percentage drops to 14.5% for first-year students. 


Only a third of graduate students, who also have access to Handshake, activate their accounts. 


The activation rate for alumni is 65.1%. 


Students who activate their Handshake accounts immediately gain access to thousands of job and internship opportunities — both local and national — tailored to their majors and skill sets. 


Job postings only represent a portion of what Handshake offers to students, officials said. 


The platform is where students can sign up for in-person and virtual career fairs, workshops hosted by Career Services and the Fowler College of Business Career Management Center and information sessions hosted by companies throughout the year. 


Students can also schedule appointments with their career development coordinator through Handshake. 


“There is a lot of information and resources available to students,” Newell said.


While there’s no formal campaign to get students to activate their accounts, Career Services has begun incorporating a Handshake pitch to incoming students at New Student Orientation, which they said yielded positive results. 


Career Services also launched monthly “orientations” at the Career Services Office, located on the first floor of Student Services East, during which students can learn about all of Career Services offerings, including Handshake. 


"We began offering Career Services orientations in an effort to increase students' awareness and utilization of our services, which are designed to prepare them for employment and ultimately help them navigate the workforce once they graduate from SDSU,” Newell said. “Career Services is on a progressive trajectory of innovation; monthly orientations help students stay current with the rapidly changing world of the workforce."


Gabe Mendez, a senior statistics major with an emphasis in data science who works in Career Services, said he activated the Handshake platform shortly after he transferred from Southwestern College in 2022 and has used it regularly. He says Handshake is easy to use if you’re familiar with other job websites and, if you’re not, there’s an entire department within Career Services to help you learn how to use it.


“Handshake has been very helpful because it keeps me up to date with events, career fairs and obviously job postings,” said Mendez. “There are a ton of resources available that students never take advantage of, or they wait until they are alumni and they’ll say ‘Wow, I had no idea this was here,’ and it was here the whole time. You just have to come by.”



Learn more about Handshake’s capabilities and how to log in.


Find out more about Career Service’s resources that help students become career-ready to land internships and jobs.