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TartanTRAK to be replaced on June 1

Credit: Courtesy of Diane Taylor Credit: Courtesy of Diane Taylor

This summer, Carnegie Mellon will officially say goodbye to TartanTRAK and hello to Handshake, a new job recruitment website that will connect students with potential employers and the Career and Professional Development Center (CPDC) staff. TartanTRAK has been used by the University for many years now, and, although it is familiar, the CPDC decided to make the change in order to provide a better service. Although the possibilities presented to students through this new system have created a buzz of excitement, the official transition will not take place until June 1. To understand the impact that this change will have on the ease of access of job recruitment and how to prepare for the transition, The Tartan spoke with Diane Taylor, Assistant Director/Career Consultant for Dietrich College, and Marissa Fenwick, Assistant Director/Career Consultant for the College of Engineering at the CPDC.

Handshake is a 21st century tool that was designed by students who know first-hand the struggles of the job recruitment process. The website aligns with the media platforms students are accustomed to today, thus providing easier access. “CMU students are going to find it more intuitive to use, easier to connect with what they are looking for, and enjoy a better user experience all around,” Fenwick said. Fenwick believes that the intuitiveness of the website combined with its ease of use will give students better access to job and internship opportunities, career events, and programs and services offered by the CPDC that better reflect what students seek.

Part of Handshake’s intuitive use comes from its similarity to Facebook, with a direct focus on job recruitment. Taylor noted that, when users log on to the website, they are taken to a news feed, similar to Facebook, with updates on job and internship opportunities posted by employers.
Students are used to fumbling through the search for job opportunities on TartanTRAK. On Handshake, however, job and internship postings from potential employers are directly presented to students on their news feed. Rather than seeking out employment opportunities one by one, students can “follow” employers in order to receive updates on job postings. Students will be able to customize their Handshake accounts to accommodate what best fits their interests.

Taylor pointed out that one unique feature of Handshake is the ability to customize how you receive notifications, such as text messages, emails, or notifications on the website.

She also noted that students will have better access to planning features, such as a calendar and communication with advisers. Taylor explains that the site will also help promote students’ relationships with their career consultants. “Very similar to Facebook, you can directly message your career consultant and don’t necessarily have to email them. You can go back and forth with messages pre- or post- appointments.”

Another major change Taylor noted is the filtering system for job postings. “Let’s say Bank of New York Mellon has an internship position and they want to post it with Carnegie Mellon,” Taylor said. “They would have to sign up for a specific TartanTRAK account and post with us.” Taylor noted that this requires extra time for employers who seek Carnegie Mellon employees. “What Handshake does is an employer will just log on to their Handshake account and they have a list of all schools that currently use Handshake and can post with all schools with one click.” This makes the recruitment process not only easier for students utilizing Handshake, but also for employers who want to save time and effort. Taylor believes that this two-way ease of access will yield more job and internship opportunities for students. Overall, Taylor said that the main goal of switching to Handshake is “to create a more efficient way [for students] to find the information that [they] need to be successful.”

The decision to transition from TartanTRAK to Handshake was clear-cut. Student and CPDC feedback made it obvious that it was time for a new system. “At the CPDC, we always listen to what our students tell us. And we do our best to offer the top services, programs, and technologies in the field to best connect CMU students with the opportunities they want most,” said Fenwick. “It didn’t take much feedback for us to know that the system we were on wasn’t evolving fast enough to meet the growing needs of our students.” Fenwick noted that for the past four years the CPDC has been searching for the right tool to connect students with employers, job opportunities, and career building services offered by the CPDC. “We feel we finally found all of this when we discovered Handshake.”

Students should be aware of a couple things in preparation for the switch. TartanTRAK will be shut down at midnight on May 31, and, only seconds later on June 1, Handshake will be live and ready for use. Consequently, any and all information on TartanTRAK will be wiped out of the system. It is important that students download and save any important files that are stored on their TartanTRAK accounts, such as resumes and cover letters.

All new job postings will immediately be readily available on Handshake for student access. Students can also begin to schedule appointments with their CPDC career consultants starting on June 1. Students will continue to receive email reminders prior to the launch of the website.