WSU launching new online career database — Handshake replaces CougLink

By Beverly Makhani, WSU Office of Undergraduate Education


PULLMAN, Wash. – A new online career database named “Handshake” will go live July 1 for Washington State University students and potential employers. It will replace the current “CougLink” system.

The new system, to be employed statewide, will give students and alumni access to job and internship postings from more than 100,000 recruiters — a 12-fold increase in this resource.

Employers will have access to create an account and post entries on Handshake, through which students can then review and apply.

The wide variety of postings will include internships and full-time career positions around the world, as well as part-time jobs on campus and in the surrounding community.

Better service all around

“We have put great efforts into this upgrade and are confident it will provide a more efficient and better service to our student, alumni and employer clients,” said Terese King, Academic Success and Career Center director. ASCC’s responsibilities include providing career services and managing student employment, so effectively connecting job seekers with on- and off-campus employers is critical.

“Students told us that CougLink wasn’t sufficiently user friendly for them,” King said. “We had to consider whether to renew our contract or seek a new solution. We found that there are many innovative companies in the career-connections business.”

The decision to switch to Handshake

King said the center chose Handshake for a number of reasons, such as:

  • It offers a robust, user-friendly system.
  • It has a Facebook- and Pinterest-like look and functionality that works well on monitors, portables, and phones.
  • Several PAC-12 partners, Ivy League schools, and the University of Idaho, Boise State and Gonzaga University use it.
  • It gives WSU users access to postings from more than 120,000 employers including a high percentage of Fortune 100 companies, which, in turn, also introduces WSU to them.
  • Recruiters can target WSU applicants with postings, but publicly listed jobs are also on Handshake.
  • Students and alumni can create and easily update electronic/online portfolios featuring examples from their work in class and on projects, evidence of writing and presentation skills, and even letters of recommendation.
  • Students can store multiple resumes and employer-specific cover letters, schedule on-campus interviews, and RSVP for career events.
  • Employers can conduct a search for qualified applicants, manage on-campus interviews, and register online for career events.
  • Data reporting should be more reliable with Handshake, which ASCC will use in assessments, for example.

Retrieve CougLink files through June

Through last fall, 9,511 students had used CougLink, logging in 182,347 times. It replaced a “JobX” career-connections system for job seekers in June 2014, when Student Employment moved to ASCC from Student Financial Services. Employers had used CougLink since at least 2005 to reach WSU prospects. Currently, there are 10,637 employers worldwide in the system.

Students and employers currently using the CougLink system have through June 30 to retrieve and download all documents they wish to keep, said Christie Motley, ASCC assistant director in charge of career services and employer relations.

“For students, such documents might include resumes and cover letters uploaded in response to a job or internship posting. Employers might want to copy job descriptions they posted on CougLink, or applicant resumes for current or past jobs,” said Motley.

According to Jordan Jameson, student employment coordinator, the ASCC Student Employment webpage will feature the most up-to-date information for all users.

Additional Handshake benefits

“As a job portal, schedule handler and hub for career services, Handshake is pretty forward-thinking and fresh,” said King. “We want to provide the best for our students and recruiters.”

According to Garrett Lord, Handshake CEO and co-founder, the vision at that company is to “help students be armed with the data, content and communities they need to build a meaningful career, particularly through better mobile products and innovative ways to use data to help make career decisions.”

Handshake began as a career-services startup in 2014 when three students at Michigan Technological University wanted to help others connect with more employers beyond the Midwest. Today, with millions of dollars invested by venture capitalists and 40 employees at its San Francisco home office, it serves more than 120,000 employers worldwide and 3.5 million students from 170 universities.

“Handshake claims that at universities using their product, students are engaging 50 percent more with campus career centers like ours,” said Motley. “ASCC welcomes the increased business.”

Read about this and other opportunities at the ASCC website.


Media Contacts:

  • Terese King, director, Academic Success and Career Center (ASCC), WSU Undergraduate Education, 509-335-6000,
  • Christie Motley, ASCC assistant director, 509-335-6000,
  • Jordan Jameson, ASCC student employment coordinator, 509-335-6000,
  • Whitney Denney, ASCC program coordinator, 509-335-9107,