Advantages of Being a Peer Educator

By: Kirsi

We're hiring! Multicultural Outreach Assistant and Peer Educator. Apply via UMD HR by April 2nd.

Peer Educators, Fall 2017

When I saw the job posting for Peer Educator position I figured it would be a great way to make a few bucks reviewing resumes. What I did not expect was the extra benefits of being a Peer Educator, in addition to the extra Taco Bell money.

Master Job Applications
Sometimes submitting job applications feels like discarding hopes and dreams into a black hole. Depending on the job, hiring managers may never give applicants feedback. Peer Educators complete training that unveils the mystery of job applications, what hiring managers want to, and strategies to display qualifications. Peer Educators complete comprehensive training before being trusted to review fellow student’s resumes and LinkedIn profiles. This training is much like a crash course in hire-ability. Newly recruited Peer Educators must familiarize themselves with the Career Handbook, “perfect” resume reviews, attend diversity training, and learn about resources the office offers such as InterviewStreamCareer Assessments, and GoldPASS. Career Handbook familiarization is especially important because its resume and cover letter examples follow expectations of hiring managers around the region.

Transform Passions into Professions
Helping a fellow Bulldog land an internship makes the training and attention to detail worthwhile! Equipped with experience, interviewing confidence, and a resume that clearly communicates your qualifications you too can transform your passion into a profession. I enjoy demystifying the job application process. Even the most seemingly unattainable career can be reached with the support of Career Counselors, Peer Educators, relevant experience, and grit. Peer Educators are a bridge of communication between the office and students. Peer Educators reach out to students about the office’s services on Facebook and occasionally on Instagram stories.

Student working at job fair

Kirsi working at the UMN Job & Internship Fair, Feb 2018

Make Unlikely Connections
As an Engineering and Computer Science double major I rarely interacted with students outside of Swenson College of Science and Engineering until becoming a Peer Educator. The Peer Educator team is comprised of students from all of UMD’s colleges, by coincidence! I have a newfound respect for majors outside of the STEM realm due to connections I have made with my coworkers. Peer Educators often work in pairs and complete training together. I help edit resumes and review LinkedIn profiles of students of every major. A project I worked on in addition to reviewing resumes includes small web development tasks. I updated the following Career & Internship Services webpages: “Graduate Follow-Up Report“, “Graduate Follow-Up By Major“, and “Graduate Follow-up Report Archive.” During these projects, I learned about careers graduates from each major acquired. During the summer of 2017, I helped with the office “Love Your Major” campaign helping students choose, change or embrace their major.

The Peer Educator position is regularly recruiting for new students every spring (usually after Spring Break). Take a look in the UMD HR system for openings.

Of Possible Interest: 

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Photo Source: UMD Career & Internship Services

What I Have Learned as a Peer Educator This Year

By: Logan

Over this past year I have learned a lot from my job working as a Peer Educator in Career and Internship Services. The amount of new information I have learned is immense and covers more than just resumes. I have learned so much about cover letters, job interviews, and career topics in general.  Even after I completed my first semester of training, I continued to learn new things and develop my career skills. This job has taught me more than I ever expected and I am very thankful that I got the opportunity to have this experience.

When I first started working as a Peer Educator I knew little to nothing about career skills, resumes, cover letters, and things of that nature. When I first began my training it was all a big shock to me. I had no idea that resumes had such specific rules. I struggled with the rules such as: You must bold this, but you can’t bold that, etc. But I tried very hard to learn all of the rules that must be applied to resumes. After a while I began to get the hang of it. More and more I would improve and I would successfully correct a resume. The more I did it, the better I became at it. I was very happy with my progress, but I had not had the chance to try it with a real student.

Learned as Peer

Eventually the time came. I was equipped with all of the tools and information that I needed to correct a student’s resume for them. I was very nervous for my first interaction. Once I became more comfortable with the position, I developed a sort of script that I would follow when I would help students. But when I tried my first time I did not have a predetermined script, and the interaction with the student was not as smooth as it was with the more experienced Peer Educators. Overall, I was satisfied with my first resume review because when I was done the student told me that I was very helpful and that they appreciated the help. That was when I realized how rewarding the job actually is. It is an amazing feeling to have another college student (sometimes much older than you) thank you and tell you how helpful you were. I have even had students that I had helped in the past come back to the office and tell me about a job or internship that they acquired because of the resume and cover letter help. For me, that is the most rewarding part of the job.

As time went on I found myself getting more and more comfortable interacting with students. I began to get to know the student and ask them questions about themselves so I can find out more about who they are, and then I can use that information to make their resume as good as it can be. I learned tips of how to deal with difficult customers (and yes, there are difficult customers in this line of work!) and I feel like those tips can help me in other areas of life as well. To this day I continue to develop my career skills by reading new blogs on career advice, and by listening and talking to our amazing career counselors we have in our office. All of our counselors are highly trained and have always given me great advice. If you are unsure of what you would like to do, I recommend setting up an appointment with one of the counselors. They have helped countless students with all of their career questions and concerns.

Overall I have learned a lot from my job as a peer educator. I have learned many important career skills and customer service skills I will carry with me throughout my professional career. I recommend everyone to go to Career and Internship Services and take advantage of the great services that are offered there. Get your resume reviewed, set up your LinkedIn account, have a meeting with a career counselor, all of these things will be very helpful to you in the future.

Looking forward to working in the office next year. Hope you all have a great summer!

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Photo source: Unsplash/Jeff Sheldon