UNL criminal justice major claims free Handshake account, gains “life changing” experience.

Handshake is a free resource available to all University of Nebraska-Lincoln students and alumni, that can help Husker students find both jobs and internship opportunities. For senior criminal justice major, Meylin Espinoza, signing into her free Handshake account landed two internships, which she said was life changing.  

 After hearing other students talking about their internship hunt, Espinoza figured she should start looking as well. She met with College of Arts and Sciences career coach, Meagan Savage, who told her about Handshake and found her an opportunity with a quickly approaching deadline. 

“She was showing me the website and showing me how you can apply for stuff when she asked me what I was interested in, I told her immigration,” Espinoza said. “We found Nebraska Appleseed had an internship open and she said, it’s due tomorrow” 

Espinoza decided to jump on the opportunity and apply right away, eventually being hired for the internship. Later, Espinoza said she took the time to update her Handshake profile. She said she added a picture of herself and updated all her information. The next day, she received a message from a Union Pacific recruiter about a different internship.  

Meylin Espinoza, senior criminal justice major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

“They were the ones that reached out to me, so I thought that was very interesting because I didn’t think that really happened,” Espinoza said. “I thought you had to do more of the reaching out. I didn’t know they were actually looking at your profiles.”  

After receiving the message, Espinoza kept in contact with her recruiter, got an interview and eventually was hired as a paralegal intern for a full year. According to Marcela Morales, a senior recruiter at Union Pacific, staying connected after receiving a message from a recruiter is something that can make students stick out among their peers.   

“I really like it when students go to our company profile and look at who we are and what we do,” Morales said. “It’s really cool when a student initiates that and will either go to our website and look at our jobs on there or look at our history and then on our company profile and they’ll reach out with more specific questions about, you know, the job that we’re looking for.”  

Espinoza said that updating her Handshake account was crucial in finding her internship with Union Pacific. She said she wished other students knew how important it is to include all their information and skill on their Handshake accounts.  

“Sometimes employers will be searching for certain keywords and if you show up in their search, that’s how they find your profile,” Espinoza said. “So, if you have great communication skills, just add that on there. I don’t think it’s bad to add too much on your profile, it’s always good to show everything that you’re capable of doing.” 

Still in the position as an intern, Espinoza said that her Handshake experience has left a lasting impact on her career. With the connections she’s built and the experience she has had, she said that Union Pacific will be the first place she’ll look for a full-time job once it’s time for graduation.  

“My goal is to become an attorney and getting a paralegal internship that’s paid is amazing,” Espinoza said. “And it’s not like they just have me filing papers, I get to draft answers and full disclosures and all that. I’ve also become really close with everyone here and have created relationships. So that’s why I say it’s life-changing, because of the relationships that I’ve established and the experience that Handshake has given me.”  

UNL students in search of jobs or internships can start looking for their next life changing experience by claiming their free account at unl.joinhandshake.com.   

Espinoza recommends that all students take advantage of their Handshake opportunity regardless of where they are on their college journey.  

“Even if you’re not looking for something right now, an opportunity might pop up that could help you later,” Espinoza said. “I always think, what if I had done it when I was a junior? If I had done it earlier, I probably could have gotten more opportunities, even if they were volunteer opportunities. It’s always good to have more on your resume.” 

By Bailey Herrera
Bailey Herrera