The OU Alumni Mentor Network is comprised of over 180 alumni and employers representing diverse career fields, who have offered to share their career experiences with students. It is available to students through their Handshake account.
Before contacting a mentor, review the information below.
NETWORKING WITHIN THE ALUMNI MENTOR NETWORK
Networking can be defined as making contacts, creating alliances, building support groups and befriending other people with similar professional interests. This process is important to your professional development and can ultimately land you a job. Research has shown that 54% of people obtained their job by networking.
OU Career Services offers multiple networking opportunities, including the Alumni Mentor Network in which you can connect with alumni who are in your desired career field. OU alumni want their fellow Sooners to be successful after graduation and many have volunteered to assist you in your career endeavors as career mentors. Networking with alumni through this service is an advantageous step in your networking process and has numerous benefits including:
Exploring and learning about career options:
- Communicating with your mentor from the Alumni Mentor Network who is in a career field that you are interested in gives you the opportunity to hear first-hand what it would be like to work in that field. Gaining insight into the work environment, daily responsibilities, and other aspects of the job may help you decide which career is right for you.
Networking within a specific organization or career field:
- Connecting with an alumni mentor can start your networking process within a particular company or career field. Creating contacts through your mentor can assist you in figuring out which companies/departments are hiring, who makes the decisions within a company, who might be available for an informational interview, and other networking opportunities. Job seekers are at an advantage when they have knowledge and understanding of the company they are pursuing.
Researching geographic locations:
- If you're thinking about geographically relocating and want information about the job market in a specific area, you may be able to find an OU alum who has job experience in that location. They could help you find organizations or companies in that location that are related to your major or desired career field.
Seeking advice regarding your chosen career field:
- A mentor who is in your career field can give inside advice to what employers in that field are looking for in a candidate and can help you highlight your strengths that are relevant to the field. Knowing ahead of time what strengths you should emphasize in your resume and interview can make you a preferred job candidate.
TIPS FOR CORRESPONDING WITH A MENTOR
Once you have contacted a mentor and agreed upon a communications schedule, use the following tips below to make the most out of your experience.
- Share your career aspirations and future goals.
- Share your experiences from campus leadership/activities, community service, or study abroad trips.
- Practice your "elevator speech" and use plain words.
- Avoid questions that can be answered by reading employer brochures or the company website.
- Send a hand-written Thank You after the first discussion.
- Proofread ALL correspondence before sending it to your mentors.
- You are an ambassador of the University of Oklahoma.
- Professionalism is essential: never use slang.
SAMPLE LETTER FOR SEARCHING FOR A MENTOR BY CAREER FIELD, INDUSTRY, OR OCCUPATION
Dear Mr. Grant:
I am a sophomore at the University of Oklahoma majoring in petroleum engineering. I recently joined OU's Alumni Mentor Network and I am interested in meeting with you to discuss different areas of the petroleum engineering industry. I saw your profile and I would like to speak with you about your position and a career path to help me make a better-informed career choice.
I am happy to speak via email but I would also like to set up a time for us to meet face-to-face if you have time. I am very interested in the possibility of shadowing you at work if this is an option. Thank you for taking the time to read this and volunteering your time to be a mentor to students like me.
OU Petroleum Engineering student
SAMPLE LETTER ASKING FOR JOB SEARCH INSIGHT AND TO HAVE RESUME REVIEWED
Dear Ms. Johnson:
I have recently joined the University of Oklahoma's Alumni Mentor Network with the intent of enhancing my job search. I am a senior majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication with an emphasis in Advertising. I am very interested in pursuing a career in the Dallas area with one of the medium to large-sized advertising agencies. While I have held several internship positions that will help make me a strong candidate, I feel that speaking with you will help me better develop my knowledge of the industry and the application process.
I am wondering if you have some time to look over my resume and ensure I am on the right track. Right now, I have four different positions I am hoping to apply for within the next few weeks and any insight you can offer to make me a better candidate is appreciated.
Thank you in advance for your time and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
OU Advertising Senior
SAMPLE LETTER SEARCHING BY GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION
Dear Mr. Knowles:
I am a senior graduating in May with a degree in Biology. I will be moving to Austin, TX upon graduation and I would like to speak to you and gain your insight on living and performing a job search in the area. Through the OU Alumni Mentor Network, I noticed that you work for a medium-sized lab and this is the type of career I am very interested in. I would appreciate it if you could spend a few minutes discussing life in Austin and possibly give me some information on labs in the area. I can be reached via email anytime. I am coming to visit Austin in the next few weeks and would appreciate the opportunity to shadow you at your lab. If you have time and this is a possibility, please let me know.
Thanks so much for your time,
OU Biology Student
SAMPLE LETTER FOR SEARCHING BY MAJOR OR FIELD OF STUDY
Dear Ms. Holmes:
I have recently joined OU's Alumni Mentor Network with the intent of exploring possible career options. Currently, I am majoring in Architecture and I am very interested in learning more about this career path. Since you have been an architect in the Oklahoma City area for over 20 years, I feel that speaking with you would be very beneficial in helping me decide if this is the best career choice for me.
I know that you are very busy, but I would appreciate the opportunity to shadow you in your office if you have time. Seeing how an architectural firm works from the inside is something I have not had the privilege to do during my college career.
I have developed a list of questions that I would be happy to send you if you have time to answer them. We can either communicate via email or I am happy to set up a time to meet face-to-face. Thank you for your time and offering to work with students like me at the University of Oklahoma.