Pomona College’s Career Development Office announced last week the start of a new program called Career Peers, which pairs trained seniors with other students seeking advice on resumes, cover letters and interviews. The seniors were chosen based on recent, successful job search experience.
“Students who may hesitate coming in to talk to a career advisor may feel more comfortable coming to a student,” CDO Director Mary Raymond said.
The seniors who are participating in the program are Ben Levin, Alan Mitchell and Ellie Shanholt. All three students worked for the CDO last semester giving mock case interviews, which are specific to the application process at consulting firms.
Raymond said she hopes to eventually have four student career peers with experience applying to a wider variety of jobs.
“We want to increase accessibility to the office, we want to make sure that our office is relevant, and I think that students can learn best from students,” she said.
Raymond said the career peers will assist the CDO in reaching out to underclassmen in particular.
“Students know that working at a company is an option, but it’s like a black box they don’t know anything about,” Levin said. Getting more students involved in the CDO earlier in their Pomona careers will help them understand that option better, he said.
Levin said that it is “important to strike a balance between a liberal arts college” and an institution that adequately prepares students for life in the workforce.
A career-focused mindset “is not really part of the culture at Pomona,” Shanholt said. “I think we’re very well-rounded students, a little more laid back than other institutions where the culture is a little more intense. Striking a balance is a good thing.”
Danny Brown PO ‘12 is one of the many students who have taken advantage of the mock interviews at the CDO.
“When I first got to the CDO and realized that my mock interview was with a student, I was actually pretty put off,” he wrote in an e-mail to TSL. “I wanted to speak with a professional.”
But after the interview with the other student, Brown said he “didn’t feel that someone with greater experience would have given me better advice.”
Raymond said that Career Peers is a trial program.
“So far I’ve had really nice feedback from students,” she said.