Career Peer Program Gives Isenberg Students a New Edge
October 08, 2019
As they begin their career journeys, Isenberg undergraduates are making the most of an innovative new resource from the school’s Chase Career Center. Launched at the beginning of the semester, Chase’s walk-in Career Peer Program offers peer-to peer advice from strategically trained juniors and seniors. The program’s rationale, says Isenberg’s Assistant Director of Career Development Rachel Snyder, is that younger students benefit from experienced, successful upperclassmen. “Having been there, the advisors know where the students are coming from. And the advisees are more comfortable, more relaxed,” she adds. With that said, the peer advisory role has its boundaries. Its mandate, she says, is to introduce general career skills and resources. As students progress, the advisory baton passes on to Chase’s seasoned professional coaches.
The peer advisors are accomplished role models, but they must also possess emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills. “We look for highly successful students with small egos—students who really want to help their peers,” observes Chase Career Center Executive Director Nic Wegman. Thorough training includes a six-week course developed by Snyder with modules that explore skills like researching career databases, interacting with student advisees, and deciphering job descriptions. The goal, she says, is for peer advisors to share their insights on topics like resume writing, interviewing, networking, and researching jobs and internships. The benefits, she adds, flow both ways. Peer advisors improve their communication and leadership skills while gaining new and deeper insights into their own career planning.
Passing Along Hard-Earned Knowledge
“Being a peer advisor is a confidence builder,” notes Jacob Barnes ’20 (right, advising HTM major Taylor Giron), one of five peer advisors this semester, and a dual sport management and marketing major. Three weeks into the semester, Barnes and his fellow advisors had already met with 78 students. “As peer advisors, we’ve improved our communication skills; we’ve learned how to best approach a question,” he remarks.
“We reach students more easily on their own terms. That calms them down and helps them to open up,” observes fellow advisor Charlotte Ide ’20 (below left), who majors in operations and information management and Spanish. All five peer advisors have different majors, and their bios and schedules on Chase's Career Peer Team website make it easy for students to see a peer who is able to assist them.
“We interact with our advisees as friends,” adds Jacob. “When I was a freshman, that sort of relationship would have been valuable for me. As a senior, I have a lot to share. I know about campus services, the club leaders, how to prepare for career fairs.”
“When they ask us for our career advice, we know how to help,” adds Charlotte. “As juniors and seniors, we have so much insight to share, from quick questions about resources to more complex issues coming down the road. That way, students are better prepared when working with Chase Career Coaches moving forward.”
Top left photo: Peer advisor Trinity Monteiro '21 (right) works with Linh Pham '22.