Alumni Career Snapshots
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Frequently Asked Questions
Once you have identified potential network contacts, there are several questions that may arise including:
What types of questions should I ask my alumni contacts?
First, research the contact's company to become familiar with the industry. This information will be helpful as you develop questions to ask during your conversation. Remember that your conversation is to gain more insight, information and expertise about an occupation or industry. Your questions could focus on labor trends or other work-related subjects, such as relocation and geographical areas.
Informational interview sample questions are listed below:
- What is a typical day like; what do you do?
- What are the opportunities for advancement within this field or this company?
- How did you get into this field?
- What frustrations/difficulties do you have in your job?
- What degrees or training are necessary for this kind of work?
- Would you recommend any journals or trade magazines that will assist me in understanding more about
- this occupation/occupational setting?
- Where, in your opinion, is the best place to look for a job in this field?
- Is there a deficit of qualified personnel in any part of this field?
- What are the starting salaries of entry-level positions in this field? Other levels?
- What professional organizations do you belong to? Should I join them now?
- Are you doing what you thought you’d be doing when you started?
- What are some things you like to do in your work?
- How mobile and flexible can you be in this field?
- How secure is your job and other jobs in this field?
- If you were starting out again, what would you do differently?
- What is the future potential for growth?
- Is working for this organization, or one like it, a good way to get into the field?
- Would you mind reviewing my résumé and giving me constructive suggestions for improvement?
- Is there any advice you would give anyone entering this field?
- What are some of the most important factors that contribute to your success?
- What skills are most important for your kind of work?
- Can you give me the names of other people who might provide me with additional information? May I use your name as a reference?
How should I first contact them?
The answer can vary. Meetings with network contacts can range from an informal chat with a coworker to an exchange of e-mail with an online contact to a formal appointment or lunch meeting. The alumnus/alumna contact will then let you know how to contact him/her in future correspondence.
Can I give my resume to my contact?
Yes. Giving your resume to your contact can tell the contact more information about you and your professional development. You should also ask your contact to critique your resume and offer suggestions that could help you be more marketable.
Will my contact help me secure employment?
Perhaps, but it is very unlikely this person will offer you a job with his/her company. The purpose of this networking opportunity is not job placement. It is your responsibility to secure your future job, not the alumnus/alumna's. The goal of connecting with an identified alumnus/alumna is to network and exchange career related information within the Trinity community. The contact is not expected to supply a list of potential employers for you; however, if he/she does, you are welcome to follow up with them. Let them know that you appreciate any professional assistance they have to offer you.
Should I send a follow-up letter after a meeting?
Absolutely! A hand-written and hand-addressed thank you note on proper stationery can speak to your sincerity and your professionalism. Thank them for taking time and for sharing their knowledge and professional contacts with you. If they recommended any next steps or provided additional contact names, it is important that you follow through with these suggestions. By giving you more contacts and thereby, more assistance, the contact is trusting you with his/her own network of contacts and if you do not follow through, it reflects poorly on you, the contact and Trinity University. In the thank you note, let your contacts know that you followed their advice, and tell them what the results of that contact were. A thank-you letter can reinforce some ideas that you thought pertinent to the conversation, thus solidifying the conversation. Subsequent progress report notes can keep your name and your search fresh on their minds and could result in additional help further down the line.
What's the most efficient way to structure my search. Let's say I'm looking for an accounting job in the medical industry.
Because a typical professional can be categorized into more than category and thus, more than one vocation type in the Alumni Online Community, search all possible occupations. Begin your search as broad as possible and then refine your search if results are too numerous until you have a good number of potential leads with which to follow up.