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In September, I attended Salesforce’s annual conference, Dreamforce, and being there in person was just as informative, overwhelming, and exciting as I remembered it. One of my favorite sessions was the “Choose Your Own Adventure: Connecting Handshake with Salesforce” session led by Nick Lindberg from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management and Kristi Geist from the Center for Career Development at Princeton University. In this session, Kristi and Nick showed how they are integrating student employment opportunity data into Salesforce and using that data to drive continuous improvement in their respective career services departments. 

Why do we want to integrate this data, and what will we do with it? Nick’s goal was to provide a Career Services 360 where his colleagues could see all of their business development activities (such as calls with a corporate partner) and various student employment outcomes data (such as job postings from that corporate partner) — all in one place. With that 360 view, career services staff can more clearly see where corporate engagement is resulting in opportunities for  students and where more engagement is needed. Nick puts that data into context for his department, which makes it actionable. His colleagues can then engage with employers in a more data-informed way, which allows them to deepen these relationships. Additionally, they can maintain relationship continuity over time even if there are changes in career services personnel. Deeper relationships with employers ultimately lead to more jobs for their students — I can’t think of a better

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In September, I attended Salesforce’s annual conference, Dreamforce, and being there in person was just as informative, overwhelming, and exciting as I remembered it. One of my favorite sessions was the “Choose Your Own Adventure: Connecting Handshake with Salesforce” session led by Nick Lindberg from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management and Kristi Geist from the Center for Career Development at Princeton University. In this session, Kristi and Nick showed how they are integrating student employment opportunity data into Salesforce and using that data to drive continuous improvement in their respective career services departments. 

Here are my top three takeaways from their session:

1. Start With the Why

Why do we want to integrate this data, and what will we do with it? Nick’s goal was to provide a Career Services 360 where his colleagues could see all of their business development activities (such as calls with a corporate partner) and various student employment outcomes data (such as job postings from that corporate partner) — all in one place. With that 360 view, career services staff can more clearly see where corporate engagement is resulting in opportunities for  students and where more engagement is needed. Nick puts that data into context for his department, which makes it actionable. His colleagues can then engage with employers in a more data-informed way, which allows them to deepen these relationships. Additionally, they can maintain relationship continuity over time even if there are changes in career services personnel. Deeper relationships with employers ultimately lead to more jobs for their students — I can’t think of a better ‘why.’ 

2. There Is No Single ‘Right’ Way To Integrate

I was struck by the differences between Kristi and Nick’s approaches to integrating their Handshake data into Salesforce. Kristi has Handshake reports automatically scheduled to arrive to her inbox on a monthly, semester, and annual basis (depending on the report). She then uses Tableau Prep to pivot the data by Employer Handshake ID and Salesforce’s free Dataloader.io tool to upload the data into Salesforce. Her process doesn’t require any coding at all!

On the other hand, Nick has Handshake reports automatically exported directly to an Amazon S3 Bucket on a nightly basis. He uses Boomi (a 3rd party data integration tool that leverages Salesforce’s open API to integrate with Salesforce) to run two jobs. The first job upserts employer ID data into Salesforce, and the second pulls events, job postings, interviews, and career fairs data to be matched to those employer IDs now makes it possible. Additionally, his institution has set up a custom object within Salesforce to serve as a sort of staging table for the data. He noted that Handshake can sometimes have multiple employer IDs relating to the same employer, so he has created matching logic to score ID matches and prevent duplicates. As you can imagine, this is not an entirely code-free integration approach! These two markedly different approaches are both successfully adding value for their career services departments.

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