What is the CLAS Career Advisor Program?
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 100,000 worldwide.
How are the matches made?
Students participating in the program drive how the mentoring pairs are matched, meaning they select from a table of options including things like, “alumnus works in the field I am interested in, alumnus shares some major as me, alumnus lives/works in near my hometown (or a specific city), alumnus has 10+ years of experience, etc.” Then, we hand-match the alumni-student pairs in order to hopefully facilitate the most successful relationship.
What are the expectations for alumni volunteers?
One of the main goals of the Career Advisor Program is to allow alumni from all over the world to participate. To this end, we do not require any in-person meetings between students and their alumni matches. If that should happen fluidly, marvelous, but if not, we do not want distance to be a deterrent in allowing students to work with the best possible alumnus mentor. That said, we ask that students and alumni plan 3 – 4 times each semester when they can have meaningful conversation, follow-up on any suggested action items from the previous meeting, and continue to learn from one another. These “meetings” can be held over Skype, phone, or e-mail. The program runs for two consecutive semesters however alumni-student pairs are encouraged to remain in contact beyond the academic year.
What kind of things should alumni and students discuss?
We encourage the students to reach-out to their alumnus career adviser first, to introduce themselves, and to plan a time when they can conduct an informational interview with their alumnus mentor to learn about their career path and accomplishments. We also recommend students share some of the activities they are involved in, any career goals they might have, and what they hope to get out of the mentoring experience. Then we hope that students will share their resume or cover letter with their mentor in order to get feedback from someone in their industry. We encourage students to attend some of our professional development trainings on campus, and then to share their experience and the information gained with their mentor. Finally, we hope mentors and students will complete a mock-interview with one another to begin fine-tuning those skills.
Why do our alumni mentors volunteer?
Our alumni mentors volunteer because they want to give back to UConn and help build a stronger professional network for alumni and students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.