Career Peer Advisor 101

Hi, my name is Sheridan and I am a Career Peer Advisor over in Ceres 306! I want to answer a few questions that you may have about what it is that I do and maybe you’d like to join our team! 🙂

What is your role as a Career Peer Advisor?

  • Well, as a CPA, I am in charge of taking resume/cover letter appointments in order to assist students with any questions or concerns they may have on theirs before turning it over to a potential employer. This could include completely going over how to write one to simply editing one that has since outdated or been added to. Along with this responsibility, I also help, not only promote the career fairs we hold twice a year, but also help to run them and ensure everyone working and attending has a great experience! Promoting a fair can include, short presentations in classrooms across campus, hanging up flyers, or updating the Career Center’s social media pages to get the word out there. I also am asked to help with projects by my coworkers who may need some assistance with tasks they receive. These are nice when the days get to be a little slower than we would prefer them to be.

What does your typical day look like?

  • For me, it always depends on what day of the week. I work when I can in between classes so my hours are spread out. If I have a shorter work day in front of me, I will sometimes have a single appointment along with a smaller project I have been given. On my longer days, I usually come into work, check my appointment schedule for the day and ensure they are all in my calendar. In between appointments is when I work on the projects at hand. Some are more time consuming than others so they vary as well, but I can always find something that needs to be done around the office. This all changes once career fair season begins though. As a fair approaches, all of the CPA’s are found scattered around campus giving presentations to get the word out. Once we find ourselves ready to go on a Fair day, we each have a job to do. Whether it’s helping students/employers check in, or collecting unused name tags/maps we all play a vital role to making sure that the day runs as smoothly as possible. Career Fair days are always busy and we all come together to make it an awesome experience for all who attend.

How does this position translate into your future career?

  • I am going for a degree in Construction Engineering so this is a question I have received a couple of times and while it doesn’t directly prepare me for technical specifics in my field, it does prepare me for the general tasks and interactions I have while I am in that field. For instance, I work with a lot of students and talk to a lot of people working here. When I am out in the field and in the office of the summer internship I have obtained, I am running around talking with subcontractors, superintendents, and laborers all day. I have to be able to communicate to each of them effectively in order to understand tasks at hand and fix issues should they arise. That is exactly what I do at my job as a CPA only it’s with different types of people and different types of issues. I have definitely learned to be more assertive and outgoing/outspoken working here on campus and this translates to my internship out in the field.

Who should think about applying to be a CPA?

  • I think that anyone who enjoys helping people, speaking in front of small crowds, or being a part of a large event should consider doing this job! If you can communicate your knowledge to others well and are capable of having a good conversation with someone, then you’d be great for this job too! Anyone really as long as they enjoy working with others to reach a goal.

What skills are beneficial/necessary for this position?

  • Communication is for sure the biggest one simply because you are always talking with someone; whether it be a student you are assisting, your coworkers, or someone in the community at a fair. Another good skill that is nice to have here is attention to detail. When you are working with multiple students in a week, it is crucial that you keep track of who is who and what they needed from you. Many times a student you met with will email you a resume days later to check and see if they made the right changes. If you respond with drastically different information or worse, forget them altogether, it creates an experience that is very unpleasant for them and they will not feel welcome or able to talk to us about problems or successes they have. This is not something we want to portray to those seeking our help. Naturally, confidentiality and respect for personal information goes along with that as well. You will see a lot of student information that not everyone needs to see or know. You are responsible for keeping that private and respecting the wishes of those you are working with at all times.

What are some perks of working at the career center?

  • There are honestly so many perks to having this job. You get firsthand information on upcoming fairs which includes the list of employers that you can expect to meet there if you are interested in attending yourself. You get to become very familiar with how employers typically run interviews and what they expect because you could be the one that assists them in setting up and conducting the students through the process which is amazing because you then get that “insider’s look” at exactly how a real employer runs things. These are sides of the process that many do not get to see and being here and working with these people you gain that knowledge and can better prepare for interviews and meetings with potential employers personally in the future.
  • Another perk is definitely all of the people that you meet through all of the different jobs you are in charge of. Career fairs put you with other faculty/staff members at NDSU and other colleges, employers, students, and sometimes you even see a student you helped.
  • This brings me to my favorite perk: The gratification you feel when you know that a student genuinely does well after you meet with them. The feeling that I got the first time a student approached me and told me how many compliments he got on his resume because of the comments and criticism I offered him was insurmountable. I got the biggest warm and fuzzy feeling I have possibly ever felt because I helped this student get noticed and hired simply by offering my guidance in order to better his resume. Nothing compares to that feeling, I promise. That is why, I feel, this is the biggest and best perk out of them all. BY FAR.

If you are interested in becoming a Career Peer Advisor, follow this link to apply today!

By Sheridan Burns
Sheridan Burns Career Mentor Sheridan Burns