Handshake: A student's how to guide

Posted on: 27 October 2021 by Tori Hawley (Second-year Law student and Career Coach) in Hints, tips and advice

Hiya, my name is Tori and I’m a second-year law student who also works part-time as a Career Coach at the University of Liverpool. I love being a Career Coach because I get to connect with so many students from various degree disciplines and backgrounds. It’s always interesting hearing about people’s aspirations and helping them take their next step toward their goals!

The most useful tool that I always point students to is Handshake. It is so easy to access Handshake since you’ll already have an account through the University – just log in using your MWS credentials. Handshake is a similar platform to LinkedIn in that it allows students to create a profile, connect with other students, and browse jobs, but it is also so much more and is such a well-tailored resource for students!

Your Profile 

Your Handshake profile functions similarly to a LinkedIn profile - you get to showcase your skills, experience, and interests to other students, alumni, and potential employers.

When filling in the ‘My Journey’ section you should have a think about your particular interests, goals, and skillset. This is the first section an employer will read on your profile, so you really want it to summarise you as a candidate and showcase what you’re passionate about. I have chosen to highlight my main legal interests, educational background, a couple of relevant volunteer and work experiences, and have summarised my key skills and traits.

You’ll also get the chance to input a list of your skills, which will make it easier for employers to find your profile if they’re searching for candidates with specific skills.

The next sections on your Handshake profile include education, work & volunteer experience, organisations & extracurriculars, classes, and projects. Each of these sections gives you the chance to highlight the unique experiences that make you an excellent candidate. You can mention part-time jobs, committee positions, uni projects, etc. It really is worth filling in all of these sections because students who have fully completed their Handshake profile are 5x more likely to be contacted by employers!

Searching for jobs

The main thing that I use Handshake for is to search for jobs or even just to see what interesting opportunities are out there. All of the jobs on Handshake are screened by the University’s Careers & Employability team and are submitted by employers looking to hire current students or new grads.

Handshake also gives you the option to specify your preference which makes sure you see the most relevant opportunities. You can select the type of role you’re looking for, location, and industries of interest. 

Handshake is absolutely the best place to look for relevant job opportunities including internships, placements, on-campus jobs, and graduate roles. If you don’t find what you’re looking for then keep checking back because new jobs are posted all the time!

Hidden(-ish) Gems of Handshake

I’m currently in the midst of preparing applications for law firms and Handshake has been so helpful. Two of the most useful pages for me have been the Resource Library and Events page. You may have already been to these pages, but I’ve provided some examples below of how these are helpful for seeking jobs in the legal sector.

This Events page is where I registered for the Virtual Career Fair and gained insight from recruiters in the legal sector. Here you’ll find opportunities to connect with employers and further develop your employability skills.This is also where you can register for LAW EXTRA events which you can receive HEAR accreditation for!

Careers & Employability offers so many useful tools to help you apply, connect, and explore - and they’re all accessible via Handshake. Below I’ve listed the ones I’ve found most useful for preparing my training contract applications:

  • The page on online applications has so much information to help you perfect that lengthy law firm application. These resources go over the STAR method for answering application questions clearly and concisely. You can also access Graduates First via this page where you’ll be able to practice the Watson Glaser test that many law firms require in their recruitment processes

Next up, interview resources. On this page you can go over the do’s and dont’s for preparing for and completing an interview, whether it’s in person, a video interview, or an assessment center. You can also access Shortlist.me where you’ll be able to do a practice interview specifically tailored for the legal sector!


Handshake is so useful overall and can really give you an edge in your applications for work experience or graduate roles - don’t miss out!