Welcome The CLAS Career Advisor Program is an alumni-student mentoring initiative within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The goals of the program are to pair alumni and students in 1:1 mentoring relationships to allow students to explore career options, learn about presenting the best professional image when applying to internships and jobs, and leverage the power of the CLAS alumni network - over 90,000 worldwide. It is a tremendous opportunity to provide students within CLAS a strong, centralized mentor program. We try to make meaningful matches by individualizing the matching process and pair you with a mentor that fits your preferred criteria.
We hope that by connecting you with a CLAS alum through a mentoring relationship, you will be provided with access to industry-specific career advice or information about career possibilities given their academic background. We hope that through this experience you will be able to articulate the value of having an education rooted in the liberal arts and sciences in your future endeavors.
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CLASalumni@uconn.edu UConn College of Liberal Arts and Sciences @UConnCLAS facebook.com/UConnCLAS
Your Role as a Mentee 3
As a Mentee, you should:
Pay attention and respond to your Career Advisor’s e-mails in a timely manner. Remember that the alumni are volunteers, but professional expectations are still intact. Share your ideas and feelings about your career path. Take an active role in working with your Career Advisor. Take some time to think about what you expect to get out of the relationship. Be sure to discuss those with your Career Advisor and set expectations with one another. Recognize that you will lead the relationship and the more effort you put into the program the more you will benefit. Be a positive representative of both CLAS and UConn
How you may benefit:
Connecting to another person’s vision, experience, and learning. Gain insight into organizational culture, appropriate behaviors, attitudes, and protocols in your field of exploration. Talk with experienced professionals in your field of interest. Intentional focus on career plans and career exploration. Become energized by achievement, mastery, and personal growth. Grow in personal power and ability.
Contacting Your Career Advisor 4
Drafting Your Initial E-mail: Okay! You’ve been matched with an alumnus, and you have worked through some ideas on what to talk about. Now you are ready to e-mail for the first time. This is an exciting opportunity, but it can also be a little frightening! Here are some tips:
Introduce yourself and give some basic background information like your age, your major, and something you are involved in at UConn.
Don’t feel like you have to write about everything all at once. You have lots of time to get to know your Career Advisor and ask questions. Remember to save questions for follow-up and that you will have more opportunities to communicate in the future.
Share why you enrolled in the Career Advisor Program and why you are excited.
If you have any questions or want someone to look at a draft of your email, reach out to Katie at CLASalumni@uconn.edu!
How should I communicate with my Career Advisor?
Talk with your Career Advisor about their preferred means of communication (i.e. phone/e-mail/Skype) and their comfort-level with various technology.
Agree upon a general schedule for communication, and the mode to get in touch with one another. Most of time we've found that a hybrid model is most successful.
Example: We'll plan to communicate via e-mail twice a month (the first and last week of each month), and set-up a phone call once a month (usually Wednesday evenings at 7:00 pm). If we have things to share with one another in between we'll drop each other an e-mail and expect a reply within 3 - 4 days.
Always let your mentor know if your schedule gets busy and you need to postpone a planned "meeting." Don't just cancel, give a few days notice (if possible) and suggest a few possible times when you are available to re-schedule.
Be professional. Refer to your Career Advisor as Mr. ____ or Ms. ___ until they introduce themselves as otherwise.
Proofread your e-mails. This person is a professional contact for you, so you want to treat the relationship (especially initially) as if you were meeting a prospective employer or supervisor.
Getting Started on The Right Foot 5
The initial conversation between you and your Career Advisor sets the tone for the relationship. This is when you first get to know each other apart from job titles and descriptions. The focus is on who you are as individuals and what you each bring to the relationship (your history, context, culture, uniqueness, etc).
If you are a mentee, you will want to talk about your career vision and what you want to learn. If you are a mentor, you will be asking questions so that you are clear about the mentee’s career development goals and how they align your mentee’s vision of the future. You should communicate your own individual desires, needs and expectations from the relationship while also taking into account your mentors expectations. Together you need to explore the assumptions that you hold about each other’s roles and about the mentoring relationship. Talk about your past mentoring experiences and discuss what worked for you and what didn’t. Talk about what each of you is willing and ready to contribute to the relationship. Continue to the next page to see a wide variety of conversation topics that can be included in your first contact or throughout your communication.
Adapted from the Center for Mentoring Excellence
Carry on the Conversation Tips for Follow-Up Conversations #2…3…4 6 After you’ve sent the introduction email, now what? How do you carry on the conversation? Ask your Career Advisor about themselves - their career story from UConn to where they are today is both interesting and informative; getting to know your mentor better will help guide future conversations. That will help you get started and then you can reference some of the following questions:
How did your UConn experience prepare you for your career?
How did you get into this field?
What do you do to live a balanced life?
What dreams and goals inspired you to succeed?
On a typical day in this position, what do you do?
If you could do things all over again, would you choose the same path for yourself? Why? What would you change?
How did you decide on the major that you graduated with? Did you change your major?
What do you see are upcoming trends in the industry?
Are you doing what you thought you’d be doing when you started?
Is there any advice you would give anyone entering this field?
What personal qualities or abilities are important to being successful in this job?
How do you manage work/life balance?
How would you articulate your CLAS degree when in an interview?
What are the basic prerequisites for jobs in this field?
Can you recommend a “must read” book that will help me broaden my skills in the field?
From your perspective, what are the problems you see working in this field?
Is there such thing as a “Perfect Job”?
What do you think of my resume? Do you see any problem areas? How would you suggest I change it?
Have you ever been a mentee? What was that experience like?
Suggested Activities 7
RESUME Try to choose at least 3 of the following topics to cover over the course of the semester:
Translating your experiences in the liberal arts and sciences onto a resume - how?! 1. Prepare a resume with assistance for our Center for Career Development. 2. Ask your Career Advisor if they would review your resume as if you were a candidate for a position in their company and provide some industry-specific feedback.
Mock-interviews are vital! Ask your Career Advisor if he/she is willing to help you practice your interview skills by completing a mockinterview. In order to make this successful, schedule a time for the interview which can be conducted over the phone, or through video chat (such as Skype or Google Chat). Share practice questions with one another beforehand, and keep things general and not industryspecific for your first mockinterview. Be open to some criticism afterwards as your Career Advisor helps with some pointers on things that went well, and areas that need improvement.
INTERVIEWS READ Find a Career Exploration book or article and agree to each read it. Setup a time to discuss some of the information included in that publication and how it relates to you and your career search. Some suggestions from our alumni Career Advisors are listed here: http://clas.uconn.edu/alumni. For additional recommendations, ask your Career Advisor, our Center for Career Development, or check out some of the recent articles posted to our CLAS group on Linked In.
BUSINESS CARDS Talk to your Career Advisor about how to give a 60-second elevator pitch about yourself at a career fair. Ask them to do a mock-introduction with you, and practice how you would go about asking for information about their company and job opportunities to work with them, as if they were the recruiter. Then, attend the career fair and talk with your Career Advisor afterwards about your success, what you struggled with, and what you needed to be better prepared for in the future.
Vista Print allows you to print 100 free business cards - work with your mentor on drafting a simple template that you can use at networking events you might be able to attend over the course of the next year (or more) by being involved on campus, attending some of our alumni-student programs in Storrs, or through professional associations recommended by your Career Advisor.
Suggested Activities 8
STAYING CURRENT Make a list of professional organizations, new sources, or other things that you should be aware of within a particular industry. Talk to your Career Advisor about these - where do they keep up with current information about their field? When you start applying for internships and jobs, you'll want to be well-versed in as many resources and pieces of information about the field you are interested in as possible.
Ask your Career Advisor if he/she has any colleagues who might be willing to talk with you as part of informational interviews, preferably over the phone. This is a great way to make some professional connections and get a variety of different perspectives.
Create a Linked In profile. Connect with your Career Advisor on Linked In, and ask them to review your profile as if they were a prospective employer and provide industry-specific feedback.
INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEW Conduct an informational interview with your Career Advisor, using the sample questions provided on the Center for Career Development website. Informational interviews are a great way to gain valuable information about a particular job or industry by learning more about the day-to-day of a professional working in that area.
If you have any questions about the suggested activities or need more ideas, please contact CLASalumni@uconn.edu