Advice for Student Seeking an ISU Alumni Mentor
Using the Alumni Mentor Program is a great way to connect with ISU Alumni who want to share their experience and knowledge with you! A mentor can provide you with advice that could be beneficial throughout your college career and beyond graduation.
Connecting with a mentor can give you an opportunity to ask questions of a professional who works in your field of interest, with an alumni who had the same major as you, or someone who was involved in the same co-curricular activities as you. Your “relationship” with a mentor might be a one-time email communication, a meeting over a cup of coffee, a monthly correspondence, or develop into a long term advising partnership. It is up to you and the mentor to define what quality and quantity of communication works best for you.
Who are the Mentors
- The mentors are a diverse group of Indiana State Alumni from all over the country
- Mentors were involved in a variety of majors and co-curricular activities while at Indiana State
- Mentors have a wide range of careers and professional paths they could discuss
- These mentors are willing to share their knowledge and expertise and are excited to hear from current Indiana State students
How does the Program work?
- Interested students will be able to access the mentor module in Sycamore Career Link. To access Sycamore Career Link go to https://cms.indstate.edu/services/students/career-center/students-and-alumni-resources/sycamore-career-link or log-in through your portal.
- Mentors will have 2 contact methods: they will either give you their personal email or utilize Sycamore Career Link through which to send messages.
- Be sure to read through each mentor’s profile completely before you reach out to them.
- Use keywords to search for mentors that might be of interest to you. Common keywords could be: major/minor, a job title, an industry, a job function, company name, and location.
- Students can contact a maximum of 5 mentors a month.
- Be sure to check back often as mentors are being added and removed regularly.
- Work on building a professional relationship that is focused on "Trust."
- Good networking allows for a "two-way" exchange of information. A good networker knows that the relationship is not all about you.
- Find ways to concisely describe your background and be prepared to talk about your accomplishments without being "boastful."
- Make sure your communication style is professional and that you proofread your messages.
- Eventually, you might ask your mentor to review your resume or help with your job search, but this should not be done until a relationship is developed.
- If your mentor is able and willing to set-up a time to talk over the phone or meet in person, make sure you demonstrate your professionalism and dress appropriately. Check out the Career Center’s Pinterest page for tips on professional attire.
- Thank your mentor for taking time out of their schedule to talk with you. You may also want to ask if you can connect on LinkedIn, but be aware not all mentors may want to do this.
- Stay in touch. Give your mentor updates on your decisions and progress in a reasonable timeframe without being overbearing.
- Refer to our networking and etiquette guide for more tips: career-center-networking-glance.pdf
- Be sure to check out this video on Candid Career on Networking 101. This is geared more toward networking at an event, but many of the concepts still apply and will be helpful as you branch out and meet new people: https://www.candidcareer.com/video-networking+101,1e866306e9b5f012419c,IndianaState
- Another great video from Candid Career is this one on Informational Interviewing - https://www.candidcareer.com/video-informational+interviewing,bddaa88aa1b24bace450,IndianaState Your mentor relationship will resemble informational interviewing in many ways, so be sure to check out the video for tips on how to communicate professionally with your mentor and still gather some great advice.
Common Questions to Ask your Mentor:
- How did you decide on this career? What was your career path? Your major in college?
- What are the entry-level jobs?
- What skills are needed most for this type of job?
- What are the rewards/challenges/frustrations of your work?
- What do you wish you would have known prior to entering the field?
- What is it like to work in this organization?
- How does your job affect your general lifestyle?
- If you could change one thing about your job, what would it be?
- What are the new developments in the field?
- In which professional associations would you recommend that I participate?
- Can you suggest anyone else whom I could contact for additional information?
- Don’t reach out to mentors to ask for a job or internship. These employers are here to offer advice.
- Don’t ask your mentor how much money they make or what kind of benefits package their company offers. Many people will find this rude. If you have those questions, meet with an advisor in the Career Center to conduct research.
- Don’t pester or bother your mentor. Allow some time to pass between correspondences. Reasons for delays in response are more than likely due to your mentor working on getting you the best advice possible.
- Don’t use emoticons or abbreviations. Know your audience and keep all communication professional.