Connecting With Alumni
Most of the time, your first contact with a potential mentor will be your online request through the Pathways system. It will allow you to personalize the email with your own message. This is your opportunity to introduce yourself and indicate what particularly interested you about his or her profile. You should also mention your mentoring goals. Mentors will likely receive several requests but are limited to one or two mentees per term. They will use your profile and introduction email to screen potential mentees.
It is always good practice when reaching out to err on being formal in your correspondence. Alumni and employers often state that when a student does not observe professional courtesies in their communications it negatively impacts their impression of the candidate and level of seriousness. Some common mistakes are lack of punctuation, improper use of capitalization or lack of capitalization, lack of formal greeting, use of informal tone, poor grammar, misspellings, and use of internet slang and/or emoticons. It is equally inappropriate to send a general or blanket email when attempting to make a personal connection with an individual.
Tips for writing your mentor request:
- Use a formal greeting (e.g. Dear Mr./Ms./Dr. Smith)
- Briefly introduce yourself and consider sharing information that may not be readily available in your Pathways profile
- Indicate what about their profile encouraged you to send a request
- Describe your goals for a mentoring relationship
- Thank them for their time
When your mentor request is accepted or declined, you will be notified via email. You are expected to follow up an accepted request by reaching out to your mentor to schedule your first meeting. It is acceptable to do this via email, if you prefer, but you may also contact them via the phone number listed in their alumni directory profile. Please note their geographic location and whether their contact number is a work, cell, or home number. This will all dictate at which times you are most likely to reach him or her.