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Early talent trends

22 ways you’re impacting the future of work

We’ve gathered tips, trends, and best practices to celebrate your impact—and inspire how you can double down on early talent.

You know what you see: you’ve worked hard this year, and the job market for early talent is still HOT. The class of 2023 is applying to more jobs, sooner.

So let’s take a little breather to celebrate all the ways:

  • you’ve improved, innovated, pivoted
  • you’ve learned, implemented, proven
  • you’ve been motivated, inspired, driven
  • you've built, discovered, connected
  • you've made internship and job dreams come true!

To celebrate your impact—and potential—we’ve gathered some of this year’s tips, trends, and best practices that just might inspire you to double down on early talent next year.

Share which accomplishment you're most proud of, and tag everyone who contributed!
#OurYearOnHandshake @Handshake

1. You’re meeting students where they are

Thanks to you, Handshake is the #1 way that early talent finds internships and jobs.

2. You’re launching careers for a generation

Over 1 in 3 people on Earth are Gen Zers. They all want to start somewhere, and you’re making that happen across the US (and now Europe!). 85% of jobs didn’t exist in 2020—most of them tech roles—and Gen Z are filling the gaps. Thanks to your investment in early talent, you’re ushering a new generation into the workforce.

3. You've helped millions of early talent job seekers find careers on Handshake

By using the largest (and growing) student network of early talent and career re-starters, you’re opening doors to opportunity:

🙌 "It helped me find a lot more companies that I didn't know existed."

👋 "I feel like there's another person on the side of the screen, rather than just someone who's gonna read through my application."

🤝 "Handshake was a way for me to get familiar with networking."

4. You're expanding impact on and off screen

How many hands did you shake in person this year…and how many virtually?! 🤝 Based on Handshake data, 50% of students prefer to attend both in-person and virtual events. When it comes to events, hybrid is here to stay.

“This year, I’m proud to have co-led our Virtual Career Series. Since we can’t physically have people at every great university out there, these events have helped us reach new candidates…And, since all students have access to the same information before applying, it helps level the playing field for everyone.”

Shelby McNary, University Recruiter Team Lead, KPMG

5. You’ve discovered 70 inclusive language principles

One way to bring DEI into everything you do is through inclusive language, which can empower employees to feel psychologically safe, respected, engaged, motivated, and valued. To continuously uplevel your word choices in job descriptions, application processes, marketing materials, and more….bookmark this -->

6. You were inspired by Mindy Kaling

Handshake Access 2022 keynote speaker Mindy Kaling emphasized the importance of shadowing opportunities for early talent and the importance of sponsorship, mentorship, and allyship. Get more highlights

“Destiny and success favor the decisive.”

Mindy Kaling, Emmy-nominated writer, producer, New York Times best-selling author, director, and actor

7. You’re supporting non-traditional pathways to jobs

“We are expanding our apprenticeship program in the US to give more people access to digital economy jobs and further advance our equitable approach to hiring, which focuses on skills, experiences and potential. Accenture apprenticeships are based on a learn-and-earn model; our apprentices receive paid training as they prepare for roles in areas including application development, cybersecurity, data engineering, cloud, and platform engineering.”

Caroline Dudley, Managing Director, Accenture

8. You’re empowering students

You never know which advice can stick with someone wondering how to start their career. Keep giving it!

“I recognize that students graduating now have been through more than most given their experiences throughout the pandemic. It’s ok to not have a 3- or 5-year plan. [My advice to students is] surround yourself with people who know you and challenge you to be the best version of yourself, and be open minded. The rest will work itself out.”

Kayla Woitkowski, Director of Global Early Career Talent Acquisition, SAS

9. You’re moving the needle on diversity, equity, and inclusion

“My passion for DEI and recruiting early talent comes from my own life experiences and understanding that we don’t all start off with the same resources, and it’s important to design recruiting strategies and programs that take those things into consideration and work towards a more equitable process.”

Sharon Garcia, Talent Acquisition, Echo Global Logistics Vice President

For Gen Z, DEI is a requirement, not a nice to have. A Handshake survey found that 69% of early talent job seekers would be more likely to apply for a job that had recruiters and materials that reflected an ethnically and racially diverse workplace.

10. You’re learning that early talent recruiting is year-round

“We started to see a trend where top talent was receiving offers earlier. We took steps including posting our requisitions sooner, utilizing Handshake to encourage applications from students before the peak fall season, and holding virtual events to build consideration and desire with these candidates so that we could process them through our funnel with greater efficiency. As a result, we were able to extend 85% more offers before October 15th than in previous years."

Danny Combs, NA Talent Acquisition Commercial and Employment Branding & Initiatives, Procter & Gamble

11. You’re surpassing goals

“I am proud of our intern to full-time conversion. Over the last couple of years, we have welcomed over 85% of our past interns with full-time offers to General Mills, even reaching as high as 94%. This speaks volumes for our recruiting assessment, processes, internship program, continued engagement, and teams that support our interns over the summer.”

Elizabeth Diley, Campus Talent Acquisition Leader, General Mills

12. You’re recruiting candidates with specialized skills

Instead of relying solely on majors, you're looking at a students' full skill set. For example, you’re sourcing from community colleges and bootcamp training providers like Kenzie Academy, which offers cybersecurity, full-stack web development, and software engineering certificates, on Handshake.

13. You're discovering new best practices

From 7 ways to stand out at virtual career fairs, to 6 things Gen Z wants from their next job, to 5 tips to improve your job descriptions, to 4 creative recruiting event ideas to attract Gen Z, to 3 tech industry trends to recruit and win Gen Z—Handshake has you covered.

14. You've earned SHRM credits through Pathfinders courses

Finding more quality candidates doesn't have to take more time. Handshake Pathfinders helps you do more with less. What are some of your learnings?

👋 “Connecting with students before they apply in hopes to engage and retain them.”

🗓 “Promoting my availability calendar, that way candidates are able to schedule 1-on-1 time with me rather than competing for my attention at career fairs.”

✍️ “Letting students know how many steps are in the application process and/or how long they should expect to spend filling out the application.”

Take Pathfinders to maximize your results on Handshake—and earn SHRM credits while you learn →

15. You’re connecting career starters to mentors

Megan, a baking and pastry major at Johnson & Wales University in North Carolina, used Handshake to kick off her career as a pastry chef. She credits one person with the most influential guidance: “My mentor and head chef, who I met via my sophomore internship.”

16. You’re learning how important mental health and wellness is to Gen Z

Handshake Network Trends found jobs for roles in high stress or in competitive sectors that are more upfront about discussing mental health and wellbeing are seeing up to 2x more applications. Learn which benefits are growing in popularity due to demand from Gen Z, and other ways you can show your commitment to mental health and wellness during the recruiting process.

17. You're building your brand with early talent

Through networking, career fairs, mock interviews, resume workshops, hackathons, panels, and parties, more students everywhere have access to learn about your brand—and career opportunities at your organization.

18. You're staying agile

Take a moment to reflect on how you've adapted and stayed agile to provide meaningful internship and first job experiences.

“My first internship [at Crowe] was completely virtual [and] they went above and beyond, on short notice, to make our experience still valuable. Since our intern group lost out on a ‘normal’ internship opportunity, they immediately offered each of those summer interns an additional internship, or a job offer. I was offered a job, and I happily accepted.”

MaKayleigh, former ​​Tax Intern and current staffer, Crowe

19. You’ve participated in lots, and lots, of events

Not only have you been busy running your own career fairs and events, 55 speakers from top employers spoke at Handshake events across the marketplace in 2022. From “Recruiters demystify the job application process” for a virtual audience of early talent job seekers to in person panels across the US, you’ve shown up to support the Handshake community.

20. You’re broadening your search criteria

Instead of GPA, we are evaluating what students have learned, how they’ve taken what they’ve learned and applied it to a problem, and whether they have leadership experience. We want to know if they have grit.”

Angela Knight, Sr. Manager University Recruiting, Enterprise Hiring and Strategic Partnerships, Chevron

21. You’re teaching students how to network

“If you’re just starting out, it can be very hard to put yourself into these high pressure situations and feel comfortable. I recommend bringing a friend to events or career fairs who’s more extroverted and who can help break the ice.”

Ernesto Sosa, Sr. Manager, Early Talent Programs & University Relations, Comcast

22. You’re impacting the future of work

By using Handshake to hire and empower early career talent at your organization, you’re on the front lines of shaping the future of work. Gen Z is transforming our culture, diversity, communication, and innovation…in society and at your workplace.

Cheers to you!

The Handshake community is strategically investing in future leaders who will drive growth and ensure long-term competitive advantage. Today, let’s celebrate the wins, and get ready for another year of unknowns with what we DO know: You need early talent, and early talent needs you. We’re in this together.

We're here to help you build the next generation of the workforce! Talk to us, and get ahead.

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