Before you get started:
Do your own research first – Alumni will supplement your knowledge, not serve as a primary resource. Ask your unanswered questions. Where is your research lacking? How can an alum fill in the blanks by sharing their personal experience?
Do not ask for a job – Focus on establishing a relationship and getting to know the alum as a person. Expect guidance and candid advice, not a job offer. The mentoring website is not intended for job placement or as a referral service.
Take initiative – Be prepared to lead the conversation. Alumni users are prepared to offer advice, not tell you what to do. By asking thoughtful, well prepared questions, you are more likely to build a valuable relationship and gain the answers necessary to navigate next steps.
Time matters – Manage your time wisely. People today are managing busy schedules. If you arrange a phone call or in person meeting, show up on-time and limit your meeting to ½ hour or less.
Say thank you – Always follow up with a thank you note (either hand writer or email) to your alumni advisor for volunteering their time and advice.
Keep the door open – Ask for permission to periodically stay in touch. Mention what you learned from your alumni advisor, how you plan to proceed and that you would value the opportunity to follow up as you make progress on your career exploration journey.
Step 1: Search alumni profiles
Step 2: Make a list of potential contacts
Step 3: Draft email messages
Be original – The template below is provided as a sample ONLY. We encourage students to draft a personal message to each contact. Keep in mind, alumni will be receiving multiple messages from students. You do not want to send the same message to everyone.
Always proofread – Check and double-check your email. Typos, poor grammar and spelling errors reflect a lack of thought and will discredit your message.
Email Subject: JCU Alumni Network Inquiry
Dear Ms. Smith:
My name is John, and I am currently a junior studying marketing. After reading your profile on the JCU Alumni Network database, I am interested in learning more about your work.
I welcome the opportunity to correspond with you regarding your professional experience and learn about opportunities to prepare for after graduation.
Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.
Step 4: Be ready to respond
Prepare a list of questions in advance to help guide the conversation. Here are a few samples:
Did you participate in clubs or groups at JCU that were helpful in choosing a career path?
How did you find your first job?
What do you like most about your job/field? What do you find challenging?
What is a typical day like?
What is necessary to be successful in your industry?
How can I improve my resume? What skills/classes/experiences are missing?
Do you have suggestions for improving my communication skills?
Do you recommend joining a particular professional organization?
What industry magazines or websites do you regularly read?
Step 5: Search for additional networking opportunities with JCU Alumni
Backpacks to Briefcases Series (www.jcu.edu/backpacks)
Alumni & Friends Home Page (www.jcu.edu/alumni)
Good judgment should be exercised when communicating with a mentor or any other prospective networking contact. If a face-to-face contact is made, a public location is recommended.