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UW Changes Lives: Handshake increases UW student access to jobs and employers

June 3, 2019 By Emily Dickmann

Employers talk to students at the Spring Career and Internship Fair. A new tool called Handshake helps UW students and employers connect. Photo: Jeff Miller

From February through June, we will be highlighting the ways that UW–Madison changes lives for the better throughout the state of Wisconsin. May and June’s theme is Jobs and the Economy. Watch for more at #UWChangesLives on social media. And here’s how you can help.

UW-Madison launched Handshake in July 2018 making it easier than ever for students to connect with employers in Wisconsin and nationally.

Since July, more than 15,000 UW students have activated their personal Handshake accounts connecting them to thousands of job listings individually tailored to their major, interests, and skills. In addition, Handshake connects students to job fairs, resumé labs, mock interviews, company info sessions, and on-campus interviews insuring that UW–Madison students are well prepared to find and secure internships and jobs.

“Handshake gives students access to more opportunities and employer connections than ever before,” says Renee Smith, Career Advisor in the UW School of Human Ecology.  “Many students are raving about Handshake’s clean, user-friendly interface and the ease in which they can find positions they haven’t seen on any other job search platform.”

Handshake helps Wisconsin employers too. Over the past 10 months 2,393 Wisconsin employers have posted over 14,000 Wisconsin-based career opportunities. Amy Achter, managing director at the UW–Madison Office of Business Engagement, says companies are leveraging Handshake to do more than just traditional job recruiting. “We are working with companies to identify creative options to connect with talent earlier in their college experience. Handshake allows companies to elevate these unique opportunities to students on a single platform.” Achter says as Handshake has streamlined the connections, it has also fostered more partnerships between campus and industry.

Jonathon Ferguson, director of the UW Career Exploration Center, says it’s never too soon for a student to set up their Handshake account. “Students are encouraged to use their Handshake account as early as their first semester. By using Handshake students can begin exploring their options by learning about campus events focused on careers they are considering, finding options to gain experience through part-time jobs at UW–Madison and in the community, and connecting with their career advisor,” said Ferguson. Students can learn more and sign up for their Handshake account here and are welcome to speak with their career services office about the best ways to personalize the tool to achieve their career goals.

More information about Handshake for students, employers and faculty and staff is available on

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