Career Peer Advisor Programs on the Rise
EACE Blog contribution by Amy Weinstein, Assistant Director/Technology Manager at Bryant University
Google search any of the following terms: Career Peer/Peer Advisor/ Peer Ambassador/Peer Mentor – and the results show that across the country many Career Centers have created Career Peer Advisor programs. Career Peer Advisors are an economical solution to shrinking budgets, but more important seem to serve a generation of students who enjoy learning from each other. Career peer advisors assist with everything from reviewing resumes to conducting mock interviews to pointing students to resources.
Most Career Centers have employed “student workers” for decades to assist with administrative tasks. The shift to embrace our students as talented colleagues, rather than clerical help, has been taking hold. There are many models and best practices out there.
Start with the basics and develop your program fundamentals. Determine the needs/goals of your program, select the right students, provide comprehensive training and create a sustainable model. Next follow a few best practices to take your career peer advising program to the next level.
- Spotlight on the website – Many career centers have photos of their career center peer advisors on their website. My personal favorites feature students in front of signage or wearing t-shirts to show school spirit.
- Get them blogging – Some Career Center Peer Advisors are writing blogs. Here’s one on finding an internship.
- Chat online – A few career centers offered instant messaging or online chats with Peer Advisors.
- “Take the Show on the Road” – Some Peer Advisors set up in locations around campus to meet students where they hang out.
- Give peer advisors a “job title” – Another best practice involved giving Peer Advisors specific roles & titles, and in some cases, advising roles to particular groups on campus such as pre-law students.
What are your career peer advisors doing to enhance your services?
Best practices & photos from the following colleges & universities:
University of Tennessee, Knoxville, University of California, Berkeley, University of California, Santa Cruz
Amy Weinstein, Assistant Director/Technology Manager at Bryant University, has been assisting students with career advising for over 15 years. Amy has worked in career services offices at the University of Rhode Island and the University of San Francisco. She has also worked as a university relations recruiter for AMD Corporation. Amy has a Master of Science in Career Counseling from San Francisco State University and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Rhode Island.