UVM replaces online career network


Lindsay Freed, Senior Staff Writer

A new online service is available for UVM students and alumni looking for job, internship and career advice.

Handshake, which has replaced the Catamount Job Link, was opened to students Aug. 24 by the Career Center, director Pamela Gardner said.

The Career Center decided to make the move to the new system in April because the Catamount Job Link was outdated and difficult to use, Gardner said.

Handshake is a program designed by former Michigan Technological University students.

They had been using a similar system to the Catamount Job Link and saw that students were having difficulty making connections, according to Handshake’s website.

The difference between the Catamount Job Link and Handshake is like the difference between a road atlas and Siri, she said.

“If you wanted to drive somewhere 25 years ago, you would get a road atlas and have to flip from page to page. You would get there, but it would take work and advanced planning,” Gardner said. “Now, I can sit at my phone in my car and I can be driving and say I want to go to a restaurant between here and Syracuse that’s about an hour away, and Siri will give me options.”

The Catamount Job Link was the atlas, providing information about employers and positions but not actively helping students, she said.

Handshake has a layout similar to social networking sites like LinkedIn, allowing students to create a profile and fine-tune what information they’ll receive to increase the likelihood of them finding a position, Gardner said.

“It will learn from you, so if you go and look at several internships and favorite a couple of them, it will begin to forward you other internships that fit that criteria,” she said. “Handshake actually integrates machine learning into the process so it actually becomes more like a personal assistant for you in a job or internship search.”

In addition, employers can see members’ accounts once they’ve been made public, and are able to recruit directly from Handshake, Gardner said.

Over 200,000 employers, 400 universities and 8 million students and alumni use Handshake, according to their website.

There are currently 1,909 students who have activated their Handshake accounts and over 2,000 employers who have registered with UVM, Gardner said.

Junior Ian Minearo used the Catamount Job Link to find a work study position, but said he didn’t really have an opinion on it. “I think it’s UVM trying to appeal to the Facebook generation. I think if it was shown by other people to be helpful in getting jobs and internships I would probably use it, but for now I’m only going to check it out since I know so little about it.”