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Students and alumni


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is Handshake?

All Cambridge students, postdocs and alumni are encouraged to use Handshake - you can use it to book appointments, search for and apply for jobs, find out about employer events and fairs, and more.

Q. How do I book an appointment?

Appointments are bookable through Handshake. We have a Fair use policy to ensure we can provide as many users as possible with appointments.

Q. I can't see any appointments on Handshake, does that mean they are all booked up for the rest of the term?

No. During periods of high demand appointments are booked quickly and you need to check regularly for their availability. Appointments are released from 11am each day, bookable for 2 days ahead. 

Appointments usually take place virtually, within the Handshake platform. We suggest that you join the meeting on Handshake five minutes early, in order to ensure that you are able to access the appointment and the camera and sound are functioning. Please ensure that you are in a quiet space if possible, and wear headphones if not. This will allow you and the adviser to better concentrate on your conversation.

Q. Why can I only see 15 minute appointments?

Because demand is so high at this time of year, we limit most of our appointments to 15 minutes, so we can help as many people as possible. In order to get the best out of the session, we'd strongly advise you to prepare as much as you can - for example by using CareerSet or Shortlist Me (below) for job application support, or reading our sector guides to find out more about a specific area of work. You'll be able to book a longer appointment from November. 

Q. I have an upcoming application deadline or interview but can't find an appointment. What can I do?

You can have your CV instantly reviewed using CareerSet. We'd advise anyone to use this before booking an appointment, as you will get more out of the session if your CV has already been through this checker.

Similarly, you can simulate an interview using our video interview platform Shortlist Me.  This is an excellent way of reviewing and analysing your own interview performance, allowing you to get more out a later careers appointment. 

Q. I am an alumni, can I still use the Service?

Yes, all graduates of the University are able to use the Careers Service. Use Handshake to book appointments, browse job postings, register for events and workshops, access resources, make and track job applications, and receive tailored careers information. You can also use Handshake to connect with and expand your professional network from your “My Profile” page.

Q. Do I have to know what career path I am interested in?

No. We have a range of appointments available depending on whether you have no idea, a few ideas, or a clear idea of what you want to do career-wise.​ Our Career Essentials material is a good place to get started.

Q. Do you offer advice about postgraduate study as well as jobs?

Yes. We can talk through whether postgraduate study is a good option as well as helping you through the application process with advice on personal statements, statements of purpose or research proposals and sources of funding.

Q. I need help on an aspect of the recruitment process, what can you offer?

There can be many stages in making an application. Our most popular sources of help include our CV and Cover Letter Guides for undergraduates and masters students or PhDs and postdocs and practicing psychometric or ability tests. We are subscribed to JobTestPrep to help you practice psychometric tests; CaseCoach for practising case study interviews for management consultancy and ShortlistMe where you can practice recorded video interviews.