CONCORDIA ALUMNI MENTOR PROGRAM CAMP

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1 CONCORDIA ALUMNI MENTOR PROGRAM CAMP A national network of volunteers dedicated to the career development and advancement of Concordia University Irvine students and alumni

2 What is CAMP? CAMP is a career development and networking program designed for Concordia University students and alumni. It works by matching students and graduates with a mentor in a career field related to their academic major or career interest. The primary goal of the program is to establish a relationship between the mentee and mentor that facilitates better career decision-making and the development of a network that results in increased career opportunities. CAMP essentially provides a nationwide network of career consultants who are committed to your success! The Concordia Alumni Mentor Program has alumni and friends across the country waiting to assist you in your career planning or job search. They are available to provide information, give feedback on your career plans and job search strategies, and when appropriate, to provide job leads or referrals. Although contacts made through the program may lead to job opportunities, CAMP is not a job placement or referral service. Instead, CAMP facilitates the exchange of information, development of professional contacts and the sharing of personal experiences and interests of its participants. Why should I participate? Finding a meaningful career field is one of the central goals of a college education and yet few students approach the task in a systematic manner. A thoughtful assessment of your interests, values, and skills combined with some comprehensive research of available career options should be required for all students. Based upon your findings, you should begin to interview various professionals, test-out your interests in various activities and work experiences, and develop a comprehensive career plan that will allow you to achieve your career goals. The information and networking resources of CAMP can help you at each step in this process! Your participation with CAMP will help you make better career decisions and it can also help create a network that will increase your access to the hidden job market. Studies show that approximately 70% of all jobs are filled without ever being advertised. The reality of the job market is that many opportunities are never advertised. Employers are skeptical of the promises and claims listed on résumés and prefer to hire new employees from the people they know or those who have been referred from a trusted source. When an opening occurs in a company, people within the organization will brainstorm to see if there are people they know who would be good candidates for the position. To be effective in your job search, you want to be sure that your name is being mentioned in these conversations.

3 What is Informational Interviewing? Many students and alumni are interested in exploring various career fields and are not ready to begin a formal job search. Informational interviewing is one of the best ways to learn about a particular career field or job. It involves talking with people about their jobs and their professions. The information you obtain is current, realistic and will help you make better informed career decisions. Perceptions about various jobs and career fields are too numerous to mention. Before you make an important career decision, check it out with someone actually working in the field. The time and effort you spend learning about the world of work will help ensure that you are engaged in a satisfying and meaningful career after graduation. 20 Questions for Informational Interviewing 1. On a typical day in this position, what do you do? 2. What training or education is required for this type of work? 3. What personal qualities or abilities are important to being successful in this job? 4. What part of this job do you find most satisfying and most challenging? 5. How did you get your job? 6. What opportunities for advancement are there in this field? 7. What entry-level jobs are best for learning as much as possible? 8. What is the salary range for positions in this field? 9. How do you see jobs in this field changing in the future? 10. Is there a demand for people in this occupation? 11. What special advice would you give a person entering this field? 12. What types of training do companies offer persons entering this field? 13. What are the basic prerequisites for jobs in this field? 14. What professional journals and organizations would help me learn more about this field? 15. What do you think of the experience I have had so far in terms of entering this field? 16. From your perspective, what are the problems you see working in this field? 17. If you could do things all over again, would you choose the same path for yourself? Why? What would you change? 18. With the information you have about my education, skills, and experience, what other fields or jobs would you suggest I research further before I make a final decision? 19. What do you think of my résumé? Do you see any problem areas? How would you suggest I change it? 20. Who do you know that I should contact next? When I do, may I use your name?

4 What is Networking? Networking is defined as the act or process of informally sharing information or support. The idea is to gain access to people who are willing to share ideas and information. The key to success in networking is your ability to establish and maintain a variety of relationships with people from a diverse cross section of career fields. Many of the same characteristics that have helped you develop your current friendships will help you build a professional network. Trust, respect, and follow-up are just a few of the elements of a good relationship. Networking has developed a negative reputation in some circles because of the shortsightedness and selfishness of some people. Networking is not about using people to help you achieve your goals. It is a community or network of people who are committed to helping each other and is only as strong as the weakest link in the chain. As a student, you are probably not in position to significantly help your mentors but you can give them your respect and appreciation. Networking should not be something that you begin just prior to the start of your job search. Networking should be a way of life for anyone who is truly serious about their career. If you begin to develop relationships with a diverse group of professionals, become active in clubs, community groups or professional organizations, you will soon find yourself with an extensive network of professional resources. These relationships and experiences provide you with an opportunity to audition your skills and demonstrate to others how you are able to contribute to a project or task. It is during these experiences that trust is developed and people will remember those individuals who made a significant contribution. Everyone has a network but not everyone uses his or her network or works to expand it. Your extended family members, teachers, neighbors, supervisors, doctors, bankers, lawyers, and friends are all part of your network. They have insights into their own career fields and know of people in all walks of life who may be able and willing to assist you. CAMP is simply an established network of alumni and friends of the university designed to assist you in your career development. The people in your network are available as consultants to provide information, make introductions, open doors, and help you develop relationships that can result in career knowledge and job leads. Your responsibility is to let the people in your network know what type of career interests you. The more vividly you can describe the ideal job the more they can help you. What is the protocol of Networking? It is critical to follow-up with all of your contacts and to conduct yourself in a professional manner at all times. The basic element in networking is trust. People will share information, provide counsel, and make referrals if they know you and trust you. Your task is to build trust and confidence through all of your interactions with your

5 mentors. Your persistence in contacting them, your follow-up on suggestions, and the appreciation you show through your thank-you notes will help strengthen that trust. You do not have to be an expert in your field but you should be able to ask intelligent questions that reflect some careful research. Mentors will quickly conclude your level of career savvy and will respond accordingly. Mentees are often anxious for referrals and looking to gain broad exposure to professionals in their career field. Your success in getting referrals will depend on your ability to impress your mentor. Their reputation is on the line when they make a referral and their endorsement will depend on your level of professionalism when communicating with them. Reciprocity is a concept that is important in networking. Each person in a network is in a position to receive and give support. As a student, your chief contribution will be the appreciation and support you show to the people who help you. As you make the transition to the professional world you should be prepared to help others and to serve as a mentor. You should not get involved in networking unless you are prepared to invest time and energy in cultivating good relationships.

6 Mentee\Mentor Matches Every effort is made to match you with mentors in your area of interest and geographic preference. Occasionally, we may not have the perfect match for you. Mentors in highly specialized career fields or in certain geographic locations may be difficult to find. In most of these situations, we are able to find mentors who can assist you in some way or help you get closer to your career goal. Sometimes we may have a mentor working in a different career field but with an organization or industry that interests you. They may be able to give you an overview of the company and perhaps make some introductions in your area of interest. Most mentors can provide general career advice and job search tips and many of them have contacts in other career fields and locations. The mentees who are most successful are those who are creative in identifying ways for their mentors to be helpful. Remember, your mentor has an established professional network and will be glad to introduce you to others if you are truly committed and serious about your career. Some mentors enjoy working with mentees in the developmental stages of their career and will excel in providing career guidance and helping a person make some basic career decisions. Other mentors are more interested in helping mentees with the networking aspect and will enjoy helping you conduct an effective job search. Hopefully, you can benefit from both approaches. After your initial conversations, you can let your mentor know what type of assistance would be most helpful. Occasionally, you may be assigned a mentor who has changed jobs without notifying the CAMP sponsors or perhaps they are unresponsive. Please let us know if you have any problems reaching your mentor or if you are not obtaining the assistance that you expected. We will do our best to find you another mentor. Some career fields and geographic locations are more difficult to match than others and may limit our ability to provide multiple mentors. How do mentees contact their mentors? After you have completed your orientation and training, you will receive a letter with the name, job title, company name, mailing address, phone number and in many cases the addresses of your mentors. The mailing address and telephone number usually refer to the mentor s home. You should initiate contact with your mentor by writing a short letter of introduction and enclosing a copy of your résumé if it is available. The letter should provide a basic introduction and give the mentor an idea of your interests, background, and the type of questions you might have for them. You should allow about a week for delivery of the letter if sent through the postal service and then follow-up with a telephone call. Because the telephone number is usually the mentor s home number, you should probably call in the early evening hours or on the weekend. Persistence is critical. You may have to call

7 or several times before you reach them. Always be courteous and professional in your discussions with your mentor. If your mentor is busy at the time of your call, ask for suggestions regarding a better time to reach them. is often the fastest and most efficient way to communicate with your mentor if it is available to both parties. Most mentoring relationships will develop more effectively if you can arrange for a personal meeting. This may not be possible in every case because of the location of your mentor. During your initial contact you should ask for suggestions from your mentor regarding their preferences for future contact. The frequency and means of contact should be discussed and agreed upon with your mentor. What should I discuss with my mentor? During these conversations ask specific questions that yield information. Do not rely on your mentor to do the creative thinking. Write the questions down on paper and consider rehearsing each question if you get nervous when talking on the telephone or meeting new people. Correspondence and discussions between mentees and mentors may cover a wide range of topics including: Explain that you would like their advice Briefly review your goals, skills, and interests Ask for details on the their job responsibilities Common experiences as a CUI student Recommendations on classes, activities, or internships Special skills or experiences required in their field Previous work experience Current job market Ideas for expanding career options Resources for finding work in a particular field Tips for job hunting, networking and creating successful relationships Involvement with professional associations Ask for names of people or organizations that may have job openings Ask if you can use their name as you contact others Be positive and express your gratitude for their help and interest Follow up with a written thank you letter or card What should I expect from my mentor? Each mentoring relationship is different and is the result of common interests, personalities, and sometimes timing. Some of the mentoring relationships may develop into on-going professional relationships where the mentee and mentor communicate for years. In most of the matches, the relationship is more short term but often just as

8 effective. Their primary goal is to assist you in your career planning and job search. All of the mentors should be able to give you an overview of their career field, update you on general employment trends, and provide job search tips regarding résumés, interviewing, or researching prospective employers. Although networking often results in job referrals, it is very important to remember that it is not the responsibility of the mentor to find you a job. What does your mentor expect from you? 1. That you take the initiative to contact them in a professional manner. Have someone review your letter and check for appropriate grammar. 2. Discussion of the frequency and preferred mode of future communication. 3. Prompt follow-up to any suggestions or recommendations. 4. That you have formulated some good questions and have some concrete ideas on how they might assist you. 5. They expect you to dress in an appropriate manner if you decide to visit their place of business. Ask your mentor for recommendations on dress guidelines. 6. Respect, appreciation and a thank you note for any assistance provided. 7. Keeping them informed of any changes in your plans or successes that you experience. Mentors want to know what happens to the people they help. 8. Remember, the mentor is there to provide ideas, share information, and make referrals. It is not their responsibility to find you a job! What does the CAMP staff expect from you? 1. Prepare a sample letter to your mentor and forward it to CUI Career Services at or bring it by the Student Success Center A. 2. We expect that you are serious about your career and will follow-up with your mentors and the CAMP staff in a prompt and professional manner. 3. You will notify the CAMP staff of any difficulty you experience in contacting your mentor and forward any changes in mentor information that you discover. 4. Participate in the CAMP events. 5. Complete an evaluation on each mentor, stay active in the program, and return to the program when you need additional mentors.

9 CAMP Guidelines for Contacting Mentors Send a short letter or to your mentor as soon as you receive your mentor assignment. It is critical that you follow-up with your mentor within 3 days. You have been referred to a member of the Concordia network as a person who can be trusted to follow-up and represent the university in a professional manner. The key element in networking or mentoring is establishing a relationship based upon mutual trust and respect. A good way to start the relationship is by getting to know the other person. Be prepared to ask about the life experiences of your mentor and the lessons they have learned since leaving college. Your mentor will be a stronger advocate for a person they know and trust. Be prepared! Spend some thinking about your interests and abilities and how you will communicate that information to your mentor. Do some basic research on your career field that will enable you to ask intelligent questions. Convey a sense of commitment to your career that makes it clear to your mentor that you are motivated and mature. Clearly define what specific information or assistance you want from the mentor. Are you looking to learn more about a career field, seeking job hunting advice, or looking for specific job opportunities? If you plan on scheduling an appointment, please ask your mentor for guidelines on appropriate dress and protocol for the visit. Always follow through on all your commitments to your mentors and conduct yourself in a courteous and professional manner in all your interactions. Keep your mentor informed of any changes you make and share any successes that you experience. Mentors are anxious to know what happens to the people they help. You should not directly ask for a job or internship. You are seeking advice and trying to develop a relationship. Job offers will result if you are effective in developing a positive relationship with your mentor and follow-up on their recommendations. Always follow-up with a thank you note and be generous in showing appreciation and respect. Complete the evaluation forms at the end of the year and keep in touch with the CAMP sponsors, Mike Bergler and Cari Malek.

10 CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY IRVINE CAMP Student Agreement CAMP is a career development and networking program designed for Concordia University students and alumni. It works by matching students and graduates with a mentor in a career field related to their academic major or career interest. The primary goal of the program is to establish a relationship between the mentee and mentor that facilitates better career decision-making and the development of a network that results in increased career opportunities. In participating in the Concordia Alumni Mentor Program, I understand that the program is not intended to be a career placement service, and my mentor is not required, nor expected, to provide job placement for me. I also understand that all the information provided to me regarding my mentor is to be considered as confidential and only for the purposes of establishing and cultivating the mentor/student relationship. In the unlikely event that any problems arise out of this relationship, I will contact Career Services and the Office of Alumni and Family Relations directly. I have read the above and agree to contact my mentor within three (3) days of receiving written confirmation of my assigned mentor. I also agree to complete an evaluation at the end of the academic year. Signature: Date:

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