Should a College Student Use Handshake or LinkedIn?

Should a College Student Use Handshake or LinkedIn?

About 43% of full time, and 81% of part-time, college students today have jobs in addition to their studies.  With over 19 million college students, that’s a pretty significant number of potential employees for the workforce.

But how do college students find jobs and how do employers find those students?  Handshake.

Handshake is used by over 18 million students to pursue jobs and careers while in college or upon graduation.  Handshake is not a social media platform.  It’s a recruiting platform for students (and alumni) used by over 1400 colleges and universities, and over 650,000 employers (including Integral Recruiting Services).

Handshake is very focused on the student and their course of study.  For employers, that means you can target students with a specific course of study for potential interest in a job you may seek to fill.  Like most other recruiting platforms, students create a profile which allows employers and matching engines to connect students to job opportunities and allow the student to easily engage with prospective employers.

For employers who are seeking candidates for entry-level jobs, it’s a great source and free or at reasonable cost for extended services.

But where does that leave LinkedIn? 

LinkedIn is the world’s premier social media networking platform.  People connect with each other at a business level.  It’s not a social platform in the manner of other popular ones.  It’s for making and building business connections.

Employers and recruiters use LinkedIn to find talent that’s usually passive.  Some employers post jobs either as a post or as a sponsored ad. 

LinkedIn is sometimes called your online resume since people typically put their personal narrative, job history, certifications, education, volunteer connections, skills, interests, and other information of interest.

So which should a college student use?


A college student should establish their LinkedIn profile with their first job.  List skills and accomplishments and continue to build it out as time progresses.  The LinkedIn network for the emerging college student should consist of parents, neighbors, friends with common interests, co-workers, hiring managers, and anyone that they’ve done business with.  Remember that LinkedIn represents the business side of a person and posts should remain focused and professional.  Commenting on posts of others, following leaders, joining groups all helps establish a presence and build each person’s personal brand.

Upon graduation this network will be of great benefit.  Handshake is an essential part of the journey.  Use them both!