Opinion: Handshake is not letting NYU students shake any hands

The highly promoted Handshake has incredibly low response rates. NYU students should abandon the site and start applying to jobs elsewhere.


Susan Behrends Valenzuela

Marketed as a platform that makes finding on-campus jobs easy, Handshake seems to yield more rejections than offers. (Illustration by Susan Behrends Valenzuela)

Molly Koch, Contributing Writer

New York City is known to be one of the most expensive places to live. That factor, plus being a college student, makes money run low for many faster than expected. What’s the solution? Apply for a job! Knowing that everyone is looking for employment, NYU should make the application process as accessible as possible, right? 


When NYU students talk about finding jobs, the infamous Handshake always finds its way into the conversation. Why does everyone promote a site that takes three months to respond and, in some cases, even ghosts you? Something has to change. NYU students need to abandon Handshake altogether and move on to better job-search sites.

One of the many emails sent from the Wasserman Center for Career Development to incoming students describes the glory of the site. “As a NYU student, you have access to Handshake, the largest virtual career community for college students brought to you by the Wasserman Center,” it reads. “Employers are recruiting students like you on Handshake.” But are these employers actually recruiting students? Doubtful. 

Handshake’s landing page names itself as “the #1 way college students get hired.” When you log into the website, you are met with, “The best way to get noticed by employers? Reach out.” That’s exactly what we, as NYU students, are doing, yet there seems to be a disconnect between interest from students and employers.

Under the “Jobs” tab, you could spend hours pointlessly scrolling through jobs, looking for one that you may be qualified for or even just interested in. You’ll probably spend more time applying for those jobs than the employers will spend looking at your application and deciding to send a rejection letter.

GLS first-year Danielle Brice said their experience with Handshake has left them anxiously searching for a job that will fit their needs.

“I applied to a library on Handshake because I have years of experience working in a library,” Brice said. “But to my surprise, it took them no longer than a day to determine that I’m not fit for the job. Unfortunately, I’ll have to keep digging.”

Students who are qualified for jobs are not being valued in the hiring process. Brice had experience in a specific job with an open position and was still turned away. At least they didn’t get ghosted

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, “The percentage of full-time undergraduate students who were employed was lower in 2020, 40%, than in 2015, 43%. Similarly, the percentage of part-time undergraduates who were employed was lower in 2020, 74%, than in 2015, 78%.” 

The drop in employment rates for undergraduate students continues to fall, and, as always, Handshake does not seem to be helping. At the rate most students are experiencing rejection from the site, it’s better to start looking for jobs elsewhere. Many students have successfully found jobs by searching on sites like Indeed and LinkedIn, going in-person with their resume, or even making connections through other already-working students.

It doesn’t make sense to promote and keep using a site that has only added the weight of rejection to our anxious college student backs. By continuing to use Handshake, we are putting ourselves through a constant loop of rejection. Cut yourself some slack. As Handshake would say, “reach out” — just not through them.

While you’re waiting for the Handshake email that might as well arrive in your inbox after you’ve graduated, start looking through different sites, which could mean looking for an off-campus job. Do some in-person job searching or directly email departments of companies you want to work with. You might have better luck.

In the meantime, we will all be waiting for the next big Handshake success story…if there ever is one.

WSN’s Opinion section strives to publish ideas worth discussing. The views presented in the Opinion section are solely the views of the writer.

Contact Molly Koch at [email protected].