Handshake Search Tips

This guide contains advice to help you prepare before your search, how to search and how to apply for positions

Before You Search

Consider your preferences

  • Position type: Are you looking for an internship, full-time, remote or fellowship position?
  • Geographic regions: Where would you like to work?
  • Job function: What kind of work interests you? Administrative, client or customer-focused, development, fundraising, etc.

Browse resources

  • Learn more about industries and and review organizations using Firsthand, LinkedIn, and Handshake 
  • If you aren't sure what to search for, take the CareerExplorer assessment to help you discover your career interests and schedule a follow up appointment with a career adviser to discuss possible next steps

Update your Career Interests in Handshake


The Career Interests link is in the menu under your profile.

The Career Interests link is in the menu under your profile. 

Update your Career Interests in Handshake with the types of industries and positions that interest you to get personalized suggestions.

You can select:

  • Type of job (full-time, internship, part-time)
  • How Handshake can help you 
  • Industries, job functions and job types that interest you (you can select many of interest 
  • Where you are interested in working (you can choose multiple locations)
  • Your graduation year so that you only see corresponding positions.

After making your selections, click the “Save My Career Interests” button at the bottom of the page.

Be realistic about your Handshake search. Many industries do not post on Handshake since they primarily recruit through other methods or sites. Some of these other options can include large nonprofit databases like Idealist.org, government sites, higher education and industry-specific sites like uncubed.com for startups. Also in addition to Handshake, you have access to CareerShift, which may include opportunities in organizations that do not post on Handshake since it draws from other career job boards.

Begin Searching

  • Click on the "Jobs" link in the upper right corner of your screen.

  • Type in a keyword in the top left search bar: a job title, employer name, skill (e.g., Stata, Excel, project management, etc). 

  • Enter any geographic preferences you have in the next search box. If you enter a city, state or ZIP code here, a filter will appear in the row beneath with the option to provide a 5-100 mile radius around the area you selected

  • Click the "Filters" button to refine your search by:
    • Job Type: (internship, job, full-time, part-time, paid, unpaid)
    • Interviewing on Campus: This will only show employers who scheduled interviews on campus. 
    • All Employers Preferences Match: This will only show you positions where your profiles match the qualifications employers listed in the posting (e.g., school year, major, graduation date, etc.) You can still apply to those where not all employer preferences match since employers can use their discretion in considering your application.
    • Work Authorization: For international students. 
    • Industry: Limit your keyword search to organizations with positions in the industries you select. 
    • Job Function: Limit your keyword search to positions corresponding to the functions you select. 
    • Major: Although this is an option, most positions do not require certain majors.  
    • Employer: Limits your keyword search to open positions with the employers you select. 
  • Click the "See Jobs" button on the lower right corner to see your search results.

  • After you click the Save your Job Search link at the top of your results, you can set up job alerts (email notifications) when similar positions are posted. If you find a position that interests you and you are not ready to apply, you can favorite it by clicking the star on the upper right of the corner of the position and apply later.

It's best to start with a broad search with only a few terms and filters and then add more if there are too many positions to review. 


The Handshake search screen showing filters

You can find filters to refine your results underneath the search fields. 

Visit the Handshake support site for another brief walkthrough on searching for jobs.

Contact Alumni

When you find a position that interests you, reach out to an alum who works there to learn more about their organization and ask for their advice to help you with your application process. You also can reach out after you apply.  

Browse LinkedIn to identify Princeton alumni and the TigerNet Alumni Directory to review alumni profiles and to connect with them for advice about their career backgrounds. Use filters such as location, their position and organization, and what they studied. Read our Networking Guide for tips on how to connect with alumni and maintain those relationships.

Apply for Positions

Employers can select from one of three application options for students in Handshake: Quicky Apply, Apply or Apply Externally.

  • Quick apply indicate the application isn't external, there are no documents required for that job posting and you meet all of the employer preferences.

  • Apply means that at least one document (likely a resume and/or cover letter) is required

  • Apply Externally means while the listing is in Handshake, the application has to be completed on the employer's site. When you click this button, you will be directed to the employer's applicant tracking system to submit your application.

Before you submit your application, be sure to update your resume and cover letter. Tailor your cover letter and resume to the position you are applying for. For additional tips and advice, take a look at the resume and cover letter guides and schedule an appointment with a career adviser to review your documents and your search strategy.

After you submit your application, you will receive an email confirmation from Handshake. If you applied externally, you have to finish the application on the employer's site even though you received an email confirmation from Handshake. Handshake cannot track application activity on an employer's site. 

Visit the Handshake support site for another brief walkthrough on applying for jobs.


Example of job or internship application window. 

Example of job or internship application window.