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4 steps to a winning message that engages college talent

Get tips and a message template to introduce early talent to your brand this summer—a peak season for student activity on Handshake.

After a busy year of early talent recruiting, summer often feels like the right time to take your foot off the gas. Schools are out of session and students are busy with their summer internships.

But waiting until back to school season to do all your outreach means missing out on top talent. Early talent is serious about the job search year round. In fact, summer is a peak season for student activity on Handshake.

According to Handshake platform data, over summer break last year, students were busy researching and applying to internships and jobs:

  • 3.8M applications
  • 49M job views
  • 3.9M company profile views
  • 187K event RSVPs

Capture students’ attention outside of back to school season to introduce them to your brand. When the time comes to directly engage students in your event or fair this fall, they’ll know what you stand for—which matters to Gen Z job seekers.

How to engage students with a brand messaging campaign

The summer is an ideal time to send students a brand campaign that introduces students to your company’s mission and values, exposes them to your employer brand, and invites them check out your social channels and Handshake Company Profile.

Follow these 4 steps when you write your message:

  1. Your subject line matters. The default subject line on Handshake mentions your company name, which is effective for catching students’ attention.
  2. Personalize the message. Include your real name instead of a generic recruiting email address when you sign off.
  3. Include what makes your company special. Not only does it help you tell your brand story, it also intrigues students to learn more.
  4. Make your Call To Action clear. Bold it, underline it, put it in color, but most importantly, hyperlink it. And keep the asks simple, like “Follow us on Handshake.”

Once they follow your employer page on Handshake they’ll receive automatic updates to your announcements—which means you'll be able to organically attract students to your events and roles.

More than 80% of students want to receive at least some informational messages (e.g., emails or messages sent through a career platform) from potential employers.1

Your brand campaign message template

This summer, use this message template to build awareness about your company ahead of back to school season.

[Your Name] from [Company] has sent you a message on Handshake

Hi {{first_name}},

I hope you’re having a great summer! My name is [Your Name] and I’m part of [Company]’s recruiting team. I found your profile on Handshake and was impressed with your background in {{major_name}} at {{institution_name}} and I wanted to reach out.

What is [Company]? [One-line company description]

Interested in learning more?

Give our page a follow on Handshake [link to company page]! It’s the best way to keep in touch and see when we’re hosting a virtual event or fair, visiting your campus, or hiring.

You can also check out [identify and link your choice of online content] and learn why [Company] is consistently [voted/ranked] [award].

Thanks, {{first_name}}. Hope to see you this fall!

[Your Name]


Brush up your brand to get ahead of fall

Doing a brand audit is an important part of preparing for back to school season so that when students return to campus and start looking at employers and opportunities, your brand can be top of mind.


If you need to update your Handshake Company Profile before sending your brand campaign, leverage your summer interns! It’s a learning opportunity for them, as well as a chance for you to create a profile that truly engages students.

  • Share your existing Company Profile with your interns and ask for their feedback on what would make the content more engaging and current.
  • Ask interns to write reviews and testimonials for your Company Profile.
  • Then, you'll be ready to send your brand campaign inviting students and new grads to follow your Company Profile and engage with your open roles, upcoming events, and more.

To scale and automate your outreach, learn how you can unlock unlimited messaging and bulk Campaign features in Handshake Talent Engagement Suite. Explore upgraded messaging tools.


1. Source: Handshake pulse survey, Q1 2024 | N = 1073

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