People and Community University

Wanted: Motivated student career coaches

The Toppel Career Center wants to hire additional student coaches for the 2023-2024 school year.
Mary Gorski

Toppel Career Coach Mary Gorski, right, talks about creating a resume with Frost graduate student Julia Carey. Photo by Matthew Rembold/University of Miami

Mary Gorski can recall plenty of times when a student has walked into the University of Miami’s Toppel Career Center, unsure of how to begin a job or internship search. 

Just eight months ago, she was just as intimidated. 

But today, as a career coach at Toppel, Gorski is well-versed in helping students create a resume, write a cover letter, or even in helping them explore what career they may want to pursue. She is part of a team of student coaches who serve as the first point of guidance to their classmates looking for Toppel’s support to find a job or internship or simply to learn about the center’s many resources. 

“I like to help people, and I like to teach. So, every session that ends with them saying, ‘This is so helpful,’ I really enjoy that,” said Gorski, a third-year architecture student. 

Now, Toppel wants to hire additional student coaches like Gorski. Throughout the next two weeks, they will be offering information sessions to student applicants who will hopefully become career coaches next fall, said Joba Odediran, Toppel’s assistant director of coaching and outreach. Ideally, the coaches will be sophomores and juniors and are required to attend a 40-hour paid training session each August. They are also expected to be at Toppel for about 8 to 10 hours a week for drop-in coaching and can also take on hours remotely during summers and some breaks. The coaches will earn $12 per hour. 

“Our career coaches add new insight to problems that may arise each day and bring a student’s perspective because they give the first impression to students who come to Toppel every day,” Odediran said. “We train them; so, they are well-equipped to support and guide each student in any topic.” 

Of course, career coaches are just a part of Toppel’s staff, which includes employees who specialize in different industry areas and can help students with any information that the coaches cannot provide. But Toppel staff value the fact that the coaches offer a more approachable alternative. 

“Sometimes for students it is less nerve-wracking to speak to another student, rather than a staff member,” Odediran added. 

Gorski said the on-campus job is beneficial for the coaches, too. With the training she completed, Gorski has learned how to navigate the internship search in more efficient, effective ways for her own future. She is already talking with some architecture firms for a summer internship. 

“I’ve learned so much in terms of how to present myself professionally and further my career, and being a career coach has definitely helped me become more confident in who I am as a working professional,” she said. “This set me up in a good way to move forward.” 

To learn more about becoming a career coach, attend an information session at Toppel on Wednesday, Jan. 25, from 4 to 5 p.m. or Monday, Jan. 30, from 6 to 7 p.m. Register on Handshake, which is free to all University students.