How Peer Messaging Works

Tawnya -

This spring, Handshake is launching a new beta feature called Peer Messaging to over 190 schools on the Handshake network.  The feature will roll out system-wide over the summer.  Peer Messaging gives students and alumni the ability to make their Handshake profiles visible to other students and alumni across Handshake schools and to message them!  This feature is aimed at giving you an even greater ability to connect with and learn from your peers.  This article lays out how to enable and use Peer Messaging in your Handshake account!

Privacy Options

Upon logging into Handshake, you will be prompted to select from one of three privacy options...


  • Community: This option will give you access to Peer Messaging! Choosing Community will make you visible to other students and alumni across all Handshake schools, as well as to employers approved by your school.
  • Employers: This option will make you visible to employers approved by your school.  You will not have access to Peer Messaging.
  • Private: Choosing this option means that you are not visible to other students, alumni, or employers.  You still have access to Handshake jobs and to other resources provided by your school.

You can always change your privacy selection later by navigating to the Settings & Privacy section of your profile.

Sending a Message

When it comes to finding a peer to message, you have several options.  If you click on the Students tab in the toolbar at the top of your account, you'll be able to search for students and alumni based on attributes like previous jobs titles they've had, student organizations they've been involved in, and more...


You'll also find students and alumni you can message throughout Handshake...  

  • Anyone with a public profile who indicates they previously worked for a particular employer will show up on that employer's profile page in Handshake.
    • If you click to view that student/alumni's profile, you'll see a blue Message button under their profile if they're open to messaging.
  • You can identify students and alumni who have published a Review about their experience working for a company.
    • You'll see a gray Message button on the Review if that student/alumni is open to messaging.
  • You can identify students and alumni who asked or answered a question via Handshake's Q&A feature.
    • You'll see a gray Message button on the question or answer if that student/alumni is open to messaging.
  • You can search for students and alumni by name using the search bar in your account toolbar.

Before you can start composing your message, we ask that you agree to our content guidelines...


Next, we'll ask you to indicate what you're interested in messaging about..


  • Professional Experience
    • Ask what it's like to work for a particular company.
  • Education Recommendations
    • Ask about a grad school program you're interested in.
  • Resume Advice
    • Ask about how you can best highlight your unique experiences when crafting your resume.
  • Interview Advice
    • Ask about how you can best prepare for an upcoming interview.
  • Reviews or Q&A
    • Ask a follow up question about a Review or a Q&A question that was answered.
  • Other career related topic
    • Ask something else related to your career search.

Once you've selected your topic, you'll be able to craft your message.  Handshake will provide you with a template to get you started.  Once you're happy with your message, click Send!


The person you sent a message to will have to accept your message in order to reply.  You'll get a notification from Handshake when they write back!

Responding to Messages

When other students or alumni reach out to you, you'll get an email notification from Handshake.  You'll also notice that Messages are now accessible from the blue toolbar at the top of your account... 


If someone reaches out to you, you will have the option to allow or decline their message.  If you accept, you'll be able to respond.  If you decline, you'll get a prompt to tell us why you're declining.

If you click on the three dots in the upper right corner of the messaging page, you'll see the option to flag a message for violating Handshake's messaging guidelines. Flagging a message will stop the other person from messaging you.  The conversation will then be reviewed and moderated by Handshake.  Your school may also be looped in if appropriate.


Read more about Handshake's message moderation process here!




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