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A Call for Ideas: Career Services Ambassadors

EACE Blog contribution by Anne Marie Gercke, Associate Director of Career Services at University of Pennsylvania

light-bulb-376922_640The University of Pennsylvania’s Career Services office recently launched our Career Services Ambassador Program and we’re making 2014-2015 our inaugural year. As the main lead for the program, I serve as support for 6 undergraduate students who currently serve as Ambassadors and span across different schools within the Penn undergrad umbrella. The program is meant to be largely student run and managed, as we find the students are more in touch with their peers and can best communicate the message we want students to hear and the brand we’d like them to see. We also want it to be an opportunity for them to be a part of something they feel they control, where they can make a positive impact – and of course, above all else, we want them to have fun!

I know that there are several career centers that already utilize ambassadors on campus. Some I’ve actually already talked to such as University of Delaware, which has a very established and structured program that has been around for a while…Go Blue Hens! (Though, as of August, I’m an official Quaker alum, I certainly can’t ignore my undergraduate roots!) I also know that many employers utilize students to serve as Ambassadors for similar purposes of communicating their message and brand.

So far at Penn, we’ve used our Career Services Ambassadors to help with events like career fairs. We’ve also tasked them with brainstorming some good marketing ideas that could help dispel some of the myths on Penn’s campus that are sometimes misleading about the types of resources we provide. Each Ambassador is required to write one blog post this semester for our office blog, Penn & Beyond. Lastly, we are throwing in some swag and getting them t-shirts and official name badges (sometimes it’s the little things!)! As it’s still very new, our aim is quality over quantity, so that’s currently the extent of our Ambassadors’ responsibilities at the moment.

As we continue to develop our program at Penn, I’d love to hear from other schools and employers about how you

1) incentivize students to partake and how you reward their efforts and

2) best utilize your Ambassadors, whether it be in person, on campus, for particular programming or an event or even through social media.

Would anyone currently implementing this type of program be willing to share? Or would anyone who has given thought to launching a similar program care to offer ideas on how these types of programs can be implemented successfully, in that both the students and the organization find them beneficial? I’ve actually mentioned it at several professional development events I’ve attended over the last several months and people always tend to perk up at the concept. I think, if run correctly, Career Ambassadors are a great way to connect students to the resources they need for successful career exploration. I hope we can get a conversation going!

Anne Marie Gercke

Anne Marie Gercke

Anne Marie Gercke is an Associate Director at University of Pennsylvania. She has worked on the College of Arts and Sciences undergraduate team in different roles since early 2012. She currently advises students, manages Career Services’ Simplicity databases, PennLink and iNet, and is responsible for helping employers advertise their jobs and internships on campus.  Anne Marie is also on the EACE Technology Committee and serves as the committee’s liaison to the EACE Professional Development Committee. She earned her Master’s in Higher Education from Penn GSE and a Bachelor’s of Art in English and Communication from University of Delaware.

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