Student Frequently Asked Questions
What does an Alumni Career Mentor do?
An Alumni Career Mentor is a University of Tennessee at Chattanooga alumna or alumnus who volunteers to network with current UTC students or other alumni for the purposes of career exploration and professional development.
What kinds of information does an Alumni Mentor share?
An Alumni Career Mentor may provide information on specific careers, tips on interviewing or resumes, advice on where to look for a job, or other individuals with whom to network. Students will benefit most from interaction with Alumni Career Mentors who currently work, or have worked, in a career field the student is interested in pursuing. Students will also benefit from networking with Alumni Career Mentors who had a similar major while attending UTC.
How should I contact my Alumni Career Mentor?
Initiating contact with an Alumni Career Mentor will require you to send a request to the individual to become your Mentor. He or she will then be notified of your request and will have the option to “accept” or “decline” the request. You will be notified through email as to his or her decision. Give the Mentor a window of 2-4 days to respond. Once the Mentor has accepted your request, it will then be your responsibility to contact them depending on the Mentor's preferred method of contact. This can be found in the Alumni Career Mentor's profile. Do not wait until the last minute to make contact with the alum if you are seeking information that is a high priority.
How much contact will I have with my Alumni Career Mentor?
The degree of contact between you and your Alumni Career Mentor is determined by the two of you. A mentoring relationship usually involves multiple meetings and conversations for a strong relationship to be cultivated. On the other hand, networking can occur during one meeting or conversation.
How many Alumni Career Mentors may I contact?
The Alumni Career Mentor Program allows you to send as many requests as you wish to potential Mentors. However, it is the Mentor’s decision as to whether they accept or decline your request.
How long does it take to connect with my Alumni Career Mentor?
Since you conduct your own search, your Mentor requests are immediately sent. A search may be conducted any day at any time. It then requires the Mentor to accept your request and for you contact your new Mentor.
How do I start my search for an Alumni Career Mentor?
As a current UTC student, you automatically have access to eRecruiting, the online job search database coordinated by the UTC Placement and Student Employment Center. Simply log on to the eRecruiting web site by entering your username and password and look for the Alumni Career Mentor link in the gray navigation bar. If you would like more specific instructions, you could also take a look at the eRecruiting Student Instructions.
How should I prepare for contacting my Alumni Career Mentor?
Once your Mentor has accepted your request you should first determine your purpose for contacting the mentor (e.g. professional, academic, personal). Second, plan your questions/agenda ahead of time. Third, be aware of your timing. If your mentor prefers to be contacted by their work phone number, avoid calling them at the end of the day or during the lunch hour, as they may be more difficult to get a hold of at those times. If your Alumni Career Mentor prefers to be contacted via email, be prepared to wait a few days before you get a reply. Alumni Career Mentors are successful working professionals who are volunteering their time and resources to help you.
What kinds of questions should I prepare to ask my Alumni Career Mentor?
To ensure a successful initial contact with your Alumni Career Mentor, your questions should be well thought out and prepared ahead of time. They should reflect your career-related interests and concerns, as well as the information you know about your Alumni Career Mentor. Examples of typical questions include:
What degree(s) or program(s) do you recommend to someone to advance in this field?
How important is internship experience?
When should I start planning my new/first career?
Do you think you are working in a career field related to what you studied while in college?
Could you describe a typical workday?
What skills are required in your position on a day-to-day basis?
What parts of your job do you find most challenging?
Would you have done anything differently to prepare for your present career?
For more information click here: The Informational Interview
Who uses the Alumni Career Mentor Program?
Current undergraduate students are the primary users of the Alumni Career Mentor Program. However, graduate students and UTC alumni utilize this program for networking purposes as well.
Can I change Alumni Career Mentors?
Yes. Whenever you want to network with someone else, simply conduct another online search. Also, if your Alumni Career Mentor doesn't have all the information you had hoped for, all you have to do is conduct another online search to find another mentor. Keep in mind that while you may connect instantly with your Alumni Career Mentor, it is also a possibility that it will take some time to become comfortable with your mentor.
Is there anything else I should know about my contacts?
The Alumni Career Mentors who have volunteered for the Alumni Career Mentor Program want to share their experiences and knowledge and should not be solicited directly for employment. While resume reviews, internships, job shadowing, and informational interviewing are possible outcomes of a student/mentor relationship, they cannot be guaranteed and should not be expected. Before you contact your Alumni Career Mentor, you should be sure to consider your level of commitment to the Alumni Career Mentor Program. Also, please note that all conversations and/or meetings with your mentor should be conducted in a professional manner. In networking, good impressions are important. The Alumni Career Mentors do not have access to your address or telephone number, although they can view your email address once you have saved their information to your folder. Additionally, everyone likes to be acknowledged for her or his time and energy. Following up with your Alumni Career Mentor with a note, call, or email of gratitude is highly encouraged.