Career Connections

Business student sitting at table listening to advice from an alumnus.

Building a network is a powerful tool in your career exploration and planning. 

In addition to meeting contacts at UB career events and others within your personal network there are other places to identify contacts for informational interviews. Career Connector Network helps School of Management students contact alumni and friends of the University who have agreed to assist you in your career exploration and planning. Mentorship is a powerful tool in your career exploration and planning. The Career Resource Center has made the mentoring process simple through Career Connector Network.

Career Connector Network

Request access to Career Connector Network (Get Advice) using your UB email address.

Searching for a Mentor

There are many resources to use to identify contacts or potential mentors.

UB Career Connector Network
Contacts in the network have volunteered to speak to students about career paths, advice, their industry and more. Request access to Career Connector Network (Get Advice) using your UB email address. Once accepted into the network, you can search for a mentor using such criteria as career field, industry and geographic region. You can enter multiple search criteria at one time to narrow your results effectively and efficiently.

Learn how to search for alumni in a specific geographic area using LinkedIn. Keep in mind that these contacts are not mentors. They are only alumni. But if you take a thoughtful approach and keep your request to information, you could start to build a relationship with the contact.

The Mentor's Role

It is highly unlikely that alumni and friends of the school will know specific job openings, so similar to other networking contacts, do not ask them for a job or a referral to someone else in their firm. All you want is advice and information. They will serve as guides, idea generators and information providers.

You may eventually turn an information provider into a personal "résumé distributor," but this only develops over time and after repeated positive contacts. Even if this relationship develops, remember that mentors cannot get you a job. They facilitate and provide information.

Reaching Out to a Mentor

Provide a short personalized message. Once the mentor responds, the mentoring process can begin. It is important to respect mentors' time constraints. In your follow-up message, be prepared to provide information about your background and career interests to aid them in their ability to help you. When you review UB Career Connector, you may find several individuals who meet your specific interests. You may contact as many mentors as desired, but stick to just two or three until you get the hang of it.

Joining Career Connector Network

Request access to Career Connector Network (Get Advice) using your UB email address.

Emails to Mentors

The most effective way to initially contact a mentor is in writing, generally via email. Your email should explain the reason for your contact and be concise (two to three paragraphs long). Use formal business writing, and make sure it is free from errors or abbreviations.

The introduction should indicate that you're a UB School of Management student and are following up from an initial contact via MentorLink. In subsequent paragraphs, describe the type of information you're seeking. Be specific; the more complete your email is, the more worthwhile your contact with the mentor will be. 

If the mentor has responded to your initial expression of interest, you may include a résumé. This will allow the mentor time to gather any pertinent information you requested and to review your background and career interests.

Finally, ask if you can schedule a telephone call and offer several dates and times.

Mentor Calls

After your initial email, you may decide to contact your mentor by telephone, either to arrange an appointment or to conduct an informational interview. In either scenario, you need to be prepared.

Introduce yourself and remind them of your initial contact. If you are calling to schedule an appointment, then explain that you are calling to arrange a convenient time when the mentor has 15-20 minutes to answer some career- and industry-related questions. Be prepared during this initial telephone call with specific questions; even if the mentor does not have time immediately, he or she will want an idea of the information you're seeking. It's difficult to make a good impression if you're not prepared.

The Information Exchange (Telephone Call or Meeting)

If you've previously arranged a specific time to call or meet a mentor, be sure to keep your appointment.

Introduce yourself again and remind the mentor of any specific career or industry interests you stated in your previous email or telephone call. At this point, let the conversation take its course. Do not be pushy. You should expect this to be the first of several interactions.

You should have a list of prepared questions that focus on no more than three to five topics. Ask for advice frequently and listen attentively, taking notes as you go.

Visit the link below for a detailed list of questions regarding the mentor's profession, industry, company and more.

Remember that this mentor has volunteered to help you. Someone who wants to help you in your job search is a great asset, so treat him or her as a valuable resource. Be sure to thank every mentor for his or her time.

You should close with a thank you and ask if you may keep the mentor informed about your progress. Not only will this be important for your career exploration, the mentor will also appreciate your thoughtfulness. Perhaps later they will have additional thoughts and ideas to share with you or may hear of a job opening.

Send a Thank You

Also send follow-up email thanking the mentor. See tips on writing a thank you email.

Important Networking Tips

  • Have questions prepared ahead of time
  • Always be polite, appreciative and respectful
  • Do not monopolize their time
  • If you get voicemail, be brief (10-20 seconds), speak clearly and leave your phone number, but say you will call back on a specific date/time
  • Do your research about their company before you reach out to them
  • Do not ask for a job
  • Meet in person, if possible
  • Use summer, winter and spring breaks to do geographic-specific networking
  • Always send a thank you within a few days
  • Follow-up is your responsibility