Peer Career Advisors is a new program committed to helping students build or write a resume, choosing a major and working with students to find future employers.
The Peer Career Advisors are a group of five undergraduate students that are supervised by Kevin Bontempo, a graduate assistant here at Tech. At the start, PCA’s were trained to help students with documents such as resumes and cover letters.
While the advisors still give assistance with such documents, they have transitioned into helping students find their major as well. PCA also deals with Handshake, an app that is “more about building your profile and connecting with employers,” said Peer Career Advisor Fredrick Kolp, as well as “focusing on jobs and finding jobs for you, either while you’re in college or transitioning out.” Events and services that Norman Career Services offers is also available on Handshake. Students can even schedule appointments with Peer Career Advisors through this resource.
Prior to the Peer Career Advisors, Arkansas Tech’s Career Counselor, Melanie Diffey, worked with students on the same services. However, these were by appointment only and had an issue with becoming backed up. With Peer Career Advising any student can walk in and meet with one of the five advisors and have a ten to twenty minute session with undergraduate students who can relate to the students they are helping out. Diffey states that Peer Career Advising “makes Career Services more accessible to students, and we’ve also found that students are much more comfortable talking with their peers than coming in and having an official meeting with a staff member.” Advisor Caleb Myers agrees, “Being available makes a big difference.”
Diffey coins the phrase “ambassadors for our office” for the Peer Career Advisors. “They go and speak in classrooms and give introductory presentations to classes about what Career Services offers; They’ve helped us run career fairs, they’ve attended the involvement fair, even Admissions events.”
Peer Career Advisors have learned to do it all, while enjoying what they do.
“One cool thing is that you get to see a bunch of different majors, and a bunch of different people that need different needs. It’s really cool just to be able to help people,” Peer Career Advisor Kaden Selph said.
“We’re kind of like a stepping stone,” Kolp said, and the stepping stone is working. Norman Career Services are opening two more positions to add to the staff of Advisors. New positions means more ways to assist students in helping them build a professional portfolio and seeing students succeed; not only after college, but in college as well.
For more information, visit Norman Career Services in Doc Bryan, visit their website at https://www.atu.edu/career/index.php, or call (479) 968-0278. Office hours are Monday-Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Walk-ins welcome. To find out more about becoming a Peer Career Advisor, students can visit https://www.atu.edu/career/students.php. Applications can be found up front in Norman Career Services.