As former young adults themselves, BYU-Idaho employees can understand and relate to the anxiety and apprehension most students have about their futures. To ease the anxiety or burden of an approaching career, the BYU-Idaho Career Center continually looks for new ways in which students can find their dream job, internship, or graduate school.
Last June, Career Services implemented a new resource with the sole purpose of helping students gain employment after graduation. The new tool, Handshake, works like a LinkedIn and job database mix that is tailored specifically for BYU-Idaho students.
Handshake houses thousands of job opportunities—all posted by employers who want to have their jobs marketed to BYU-Idaho students. Before the positions are listed, the jobs and the companies must be approved by the university. This ensures that every job posting is legitimate and would benefit students.
Each month 2,000 to 3,000 new jobs are submitted by employers, some of which even come from Fortune 500 companies.
“All of the Fortune 500 companies are on the Handshake system. We haven’t connected with all of them, but we have received some great job postings,” said Will Gierke, career preparation coordinator.
Job listings also state how many BYU-Idaho students have worked for that company. This enables conversation between students and/or alumni that can help an individual learn more about the company, the job position, the hiring process, etc.
The program enables employers to reach out directly to students if their profile is public. Gierke stated that they’ve seen this happen in the past, and some students have even obtained employment this way.
However, this platform is unique in that it includes more than just job postings. Handshake also includes information about and registration for the university’s expeditions, career fairs, recruitment sessions, workshops, and other Career Center events.
Handshake greatly eases the stress of job and internship searching with all the resources it provides. Although it is a great tool, the BYU-Idaho Career Center offers three other digital tools to help students in their career preparation: LinkedIn, Portfolium, and the soon to be launched, BYUIConnect.
When talking about LinkedIn, Career Center Director Steve Davis said:
“It’s huge; over 500 million people are on LinkedIn. You can connect with the world. There are about 90,000 of our alumni on LinkedIn as well. It’s the best tool to find people.”
The BYU-Idaho Career Center works to educate students (who may already have a LinkedIn profile) on how to effectively use this popular platform to their advantage.
Although portfolio work can be included on LinkedIn, the Career Services Center recommends using another platform called Portfolium.
Portfolium was officially introduced to BYU-Idaho students about a year-and-a-half ago. It is a system that allows students to easily create a digital portfolio. Students can add the work they’ve created for classes or other responsibilities into one organized place that will help highlight and showcase their abilities.
In just a few weeks, BYU-Idaho plans to offer a new service called BYUIConnect. While the other digital tools help with networking, finding jobs, or featuring work, BYUIConnect will focus on mentoring.
BYU-Idaho alumni will be able to volunteer as mentors through this program and provide résumé, interview, and other help to current students. The program will match a mentor to a student with not only similar degrees and areas of work, but similar interests. The program itself will also give students tips for how to correspond with alumni.
These four digital tools are readily available to all BYU-Idaho students, and Gierke encourages employees to remind students of these tools.
“Encourage your students to be active. The whole point of a university degree is to move on in some way, whether that’s to get more education or find a job. Encourage the students in your professional area— whether it’s your employees or students you come in contact with each day—to reach out and learn about the amazing resources available to them,” Gierke said.