WHAT IS THE ALUMNI CAREER NETWORK AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
The Alumni Career Network consists of friends and alumni of Purdue University Calumet in many different professions who volunteer to provide information and advice regarding careers. Students may search and request contact with a mentor through CareerTrax. (If you do not have a CareerTrax account please contact the Office of The Career Center at (219) 989-2600 and we will provide you with your username and password)
IN WHAT WAYS CAN THE NETWORK BE USED
- Career mentors can offer accurate and up-to-date information regarding their field of work and the qualifications or education necessary to enter the field.
- To gain advice concerning course work or additional skills necessary for that field.
- To learn about the organizational climate in which the mentor works, the job outlook, and the “nuts and bolts” of the industry. This experience will help determine whether or not this career is right for you.
- For those students currently looking for a job, the career mentors can provide useful information regarding which strategies and job search methods are known to be most effective in their field.
- Career mentors are NOT expected to find students jobs, but they may be able to suggest organizations or people for students to contact in their search for information or a job.
TIPS ON HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR FIRST “MEETING”
Conduct research on the industry BEFORE making contact with a mentor. Your on-line discussion with the mentor will be more productive if you have a basic understanding of the industry. There are many resources available to learn about various fields including guides located in CareerTrax, books in the The Career Center library, and websites listed on the The Career Center’ page under Occupational Information.
THINK ABOUT WHY YOU ARE CONTACTING A MENTOR
- Take the time to determine what kind of information you wish to obtain. This will help you decide the best questions to ask the mentor.
- Do you wish to learn about a specific career to see if it fits in with your current academic major?
- Are you a career changer who wants to know if your current skills and work experience are an ideal fit for a particular industry?
- Are you seeking advice as to the best job search methods for entering a particular field?
Informational Interviews are a widely accepted method of acquiring information about occupational areas of interest, job search methods, and potential employers. These interviews can help students clarify their goals for future employment and assist them in defining their career options.
Possible topics of discussion include:
- General career information
- Changing careers or relocating
- Discover skills required for work in your field
- Discover what the typical work-day is like
- Learn about the job market in your area
- Graduate school questions
- Selecting a major field
- Developing an internship/summer job in your field
- How did you become interested in this career field?
- Can you describe your career path?
- What is your educational background?
- Please describe a typical day/work week.
- What is the path of career advancement?
- How is the economy affecting this industry?
- What skills and abilities are most important to succeed in your industry?
- Are there particular courses or internship experiences you would recommend?
- Is graduate school necessary to advance in this industry?
- What do you like/dislike about your job?
- Mentors may choose to share a variety of different experiences with students including: job shadowing, mock interviewing, provide a tour of their organization or guest lecture at a club or meeting.
- Be aware of your time and the time of the mentor. Do not try to contact too many mentors at the same time.
- Do not forget to follow-up with the mentor, foster the professional relationship, and give consideration to the valuable information and advice the mentor has provided.
- Make sure your email address, contact information, and out-going telephone message have a professional tone.
- Respect the mentor’s time and remember they are professionals with busy schedules. They are excited to assist you and answer your questions during a mutually convenient time.
- When contacting the mentor, use a proper greeting and consider your grammar, content and word choice throughout the communication.
- Send a thank you note to express your appreciation within 48 hours after the interview.
- Ask the mentor if it is appropriate for you to follow up with him/her in order to advise them of your progress, or to ask for additional information. Most mentors would like to hear from you but do not abuse this privilege.
- Remember, mentors are not employment representatives. Mentors share advice and information about their careers, it is not their responsibility to get you an internship or job.