For the Spring 2022 semester, the NYUSPS Wasserman Center for Career Development focused on the power of peer-to-peer learning to not only expand the capacity of services offered, but also to showcase and leverage one of the biggest pools of untapped career knowledge and experience: the community of SPS students themselves. To do so, the Center produced a virtual event series entitled “Peer Career Chats”, a new avenue to scale career services and add variety and differentiation in the already existing diversity of SPS Wasserman Center touchpoints, so that students could choose the offering most useful to them.
The series was piloted with a total of 7 events, aiming to create an informal and easygoing setting where SPS students could share knowledge among themselves, focusing on one aspect of career success per event that the invited student guest had personal expertise in. The events were different from the well-known panels with external experts or those led by career experts. Instead, it aimed to create a relaxed and frank atmosphere more conducive to intra-student relationship building, safe for vulnerability and handling change, plus the exchange of tips, tricks, challenges experienced. It also showcased actionable steps that lead to success, leveraging NYU resources.
The event series ran during February, March and April of 2022. During each event one student speaker was invited as a discussion leader and ‘subject matter expert’, who shared professional actions and behaviors: something that they did or are doing successfully in their careers. The topics for the sessions included discovering how to “Perfect your LinkedIn Presence” where students uncovered the importance of this platform and how best to leverage it, “Leveraging Your Academic Experience” on how to make the most of your education on your resume, “Build your E-Portfolio and Online Brand”, and “Stand Out in a Virtual Interview”. Other events focused on job searching particularly, including “Internship Seeking Aligned with your Career Goals’’ and “Finding Opportunities as an International Student” that highlighted how to convert internships to jobs with the added facet of navigating visa sponsorship. For students interested in their own business ventures, one installment focused on “Entrepreneurship: Making it on your Own”.
Participants were encouraged to ask questions and chime in with their experiences, ideas, concerns and resources. The biggest results of the series were increased confidence, motivation and empowerment to take action in their careers. Each session was geared in a particular direction and thus had different learning outcomes and takeaways. In one session, 100% of the students responded they gained a better understanding of the NYU Wasserman resources available to them, and after another event, 86% of students reported they’d learned new ways to increase their professional online presence to industry and recruiters.