These days, opportunities to network and connect in person are rare, as many everyday activities have moved online. Undergraduate brothers may no longer be able to drop by their campus career centers and can’t attend in-person professional development events like the Fraternity’s Life After College program, but SigEp’s new virtual career coaching program fills that void.
With virtual coaching, SigEp ensures that even in the midst of the pandemic, undergraduate brothers can explore career options, hone their job search skills and graduate ready to compete in today’s rapidly evolving job market or take the next step in their professional journey. In its first several months, nearly 500 alumni with experience spanning a wide range of fields have answered the call to share their expertise as coaches.
The virtual format means every undergraduate brother or alumnus, regardless of location or proximity to each other, can participate.
After filling out a brief online interest form, undergraduates and alumni are matched for a 30-minute coaching session. Undergraduate participants also receive information on their coach’s career, their contact info and a sample script for reaching out. Once they connect, undergrads guide the discussion, covering the topics that best suit their needs. From resume advice to interview skills to questions about a specific industry, this is a chance for undergrads to speak with an experienced professional and brother in their field of interest and ask whatever they need to know to propel themselves forward.
Although the initial commitment is a single 30-minute session, the ultimate goal is to match participants and coaches who will forge a connection that will continue. And several undergraduates have already taken advantage of the opportunity to further expand their networks by requesting sessions with multiple coaches.
“Our intent is to organically create an ongoing relationship. We hope to help brothers create a relationship they can build on,” explained SigEp Leadership Programs Director Matt Wallace, Central Missouri ’18.
“Something brothers are told as undergrads is that the SigEp network is incredible and vast. But for many, it feels kind of nebulous; they don’t know how to access it. By taking career coaching virtual, we’re making the SigEp network as accessible as possible for them,” Wallace added.
Paul Schlotman, South Dakota State ’23, said he’s already gotten a great deal out of the program and has remained in contact with his coach, Joe Brejda, Georgia Tech ’12. He said after their first meeting, he fine-tuned his resume and landed interviews with several companies he’s interested in. Schlotman added, “I was very impressed by his desire to help me improve and reach my full potential.”
Another brother noted that he’d scheduled some interviews just prior to being matched with a coach, and the timing of his session couldn’t have been better.
“After meeting my coach for the first time, I immediately updated my resume and started preparing for the interviews I had scheduled. I genuinely think some of the insights that I gained from this meeting helped me stand out from other candidates and do well,” stated Luc Aeschelmann, California-San Diego ’22.
Ed Wildermuth, Monmouth ’02, who served as Aeschelmann’s coach, said he enjoyed the chance to give back by helping an undergraduate. “I believe that a young brother can gain invaluable insight by talking to alumni with a wide array of professional and personal life experiences. The more you ask questions, talk to brothers from different backgrounds and skill sets, and learn the ‘soft skills’ you can’t find in a classroom, the better you’ll be able to find your professional calling.”
Chris Dillion, Illinois ’03, who served as a coach to an undergrad from SigEp’s Florida chapter, had high praise for the effort he put into getting ready for their session. “Evan Savage [Florida ’22] came prepared, brought high energy and had specific goals for our engagement,” Dillion stated. “He did a fantastic job of engaging me throughout the process, and I look forward to supporting him in both his Fraternity and professional aspirations.”
Dillion concluded by encouraging alumni to serve as career coach. “As a SigEp volunteer, I think there’s a tremendous return on investment. Serving as a career coach is a modest investment of time that yields an outsized impact on an undergraduate brother’s career trajectory.”