Students start futures through help of apps


CW/ Kallie Chabla

Kinsley Centers, Contributing Writer

Not all social media sites are used as a way to fill time between classes. In fact, two are becoming increasingly useful in helping students find jobs. Since the websites LinkedIn and Handshake have been created, students now have the opportunity to successfully search for career opportunities at their fingertips while avoiding the “help wanted” classifieds in the local paper.

LinkedIn allows users to create a profile and connect with professionals, teachers and other students in their field of study. This gives users the ability to showcase their resume, work experience and accomplishments with the hope of landing their dream job.

Handshake is a platform on which users are invited to upcoming events such as networking events and lectures that are tailored to the user’s experiences and interests. It also allows students to search for jobs and internships by creating a personal profile to display background information to viewers.

Both platforms also exist as mobile apps. These sites and others, like ZipRecruiter and Indeed, provide today’s generation with a variety of new options in planning their professional future.

Manager of the College of Communication & Information Sciences Satellite Office for the Career Center Amy Bramlett uses both LinkedIn and Handshake. She has been a member of LinkedIn since 2010 and has used Handshake for a few years now.

“These apps have made it much easier just to make it known that you’re available for work,” Bramlett said. “A job seeker’s sphere of influence has obviously really increased with these apps, and students can quickly and easily market their brand far and wide if they wish.”

LinkedIn is open to all students or professionals that would like to create an account. Bramlett said it is great for making connections, whether or not those connections are within a user’s field of study.

LinkedIn has been around longer than Handshake, but it’s just as beneficial. However, Bramlett said when using LinkedIn, users may have to search more to find what they want due to the various levels of experience.

Bramlett wants student users to keep in mind that there is an alumni tool on LinkedIn that can be used to connect with UA alumni throughout the country.

“LinkedIn is great for building a professional network that’s far-reaching,” Bramlett said

All UA students automatically have access to Handshake, even if they are not aware. The site can be accessed on the student tab in myBama. Students just need to fill out the content on their profile and make it viewable.

“Handshake is really beneficial to UA students because it allows them to search for internships or full-time positions, connect with and follow companies, apply for jobs, track resume deadlines and even schedule interviews,” Bramlett said.

“I find that the content on Handshake is nicely tailored to a student’s specific career interest, and the more they interact with it, the smarter it gets about them,” Bramlett said.

Whereas in the past, the job searching process took days or even weeks, these modern utilities can help students do the same amount of work in just hours.

“Employers can move applicants through the entire hiring process from application, to interview, to offer in just a few clicks,” Bramlett said. “Previous generations had to deal with longer and more cumbersome processes, and I think that expediency has benefitted younger generations by making jobs that were a better fit for them more accessible.”

Some students prefer one website over the other; however, the objective remains the same.

Nicole Martin, a senior majoring in public relations, has a LinkedIn account but prefers Handshake because it is geared more toward college students. Martin said LinkedIn has various types of users, from professionals to students, which makes it more difficult for students to find jobs that do not require several years of professional experience.

Martin believes Handshake makes it easier for students to navigate when finding a job due to it displaying opportunities with a “realistic” amount of experience.

“I like Handshake because it’s like verified by the University before it’s posted so like there’s not any fake stuff on there because the University has to approve all the jobs posted,” Martin said. “I feel like there’s no gimmicks or anything, and like the University wouldn’t approve anything that’s not going to benefit the students.”

Martin’s internship coordinator encouraged her to download the Handshake app, and she has used it ever since. Since downloading the app, Martin has even landed internships with the Alzheimer’s Association and Habitat for Humanity.

“I think that since we’re more of a social media generation anyways, it makes it easier for us to find all the opportunities,” Martin said. “It’s like one spot for multiple opportunities, so we are not having to look through newspapers every day to find like job openings, and it’s just a place that students can go to look for internships and jobs for entry-level positions.”

Martin recommends that students download the Handshake app for not only job and internship hunting, but to find out about events relevant to the users’ field of study.

“They’ll send you an invite based on your program of study and stuff you are interested in,” Martin said.

Ragan Collins, a junior majoring in advertising, uses the LinkedIn app. She takes advantage of the app to make connections with professionals and students in her field of study.

“My dad works in marketing, so I am friends with all the people that he works with, so that will help me when I get out [because] like I already know people in marketing and advertising and stuff,” Collins said. “I have them as connections.”

Collins said LinkedIn can be intimidating at times, as users who view each other’s profiles may begin to compare themselves and feel they have not accomplished as much. However, Collins also looks at the app as inspirational, as she sees the campaigns her connections are partaking in, and this excites her for the future.

While Collins navigates through her Linkedin app, she can see what professionals in the advertising field are doing. She said this gives her assurance that she wants to continue with her major. She believes apps such as LinkedIn have benefitted everyone involved, as it allows users to network at the click of a button.

“Some jobs will ask for your LinkedIn, and they can look [because] you can have all your accomplishments listed on there,” Collins said. “So instead of like having to do a whole resume, some places you can just do that and it’s so much easier.”