Editor’s Note: The 2020 Spring Career Fair will be a virtual career fair hosted by Husky Mentor Network. Click here to watch a video tutorial overviewing how to sign up for Husky Mentor Network and how to schedule conversations with employers during the fair.
When entering college, knowing which major or career is right for you can be very difficult. Having little to no experience in the industry you want to pursue can leave you feeling unsure and stressed out. A great way to learn more about an industry or specific position is by talking to someone who has experience with it!
One of the hidden gems of the UConn Center for Career Development is the Husky Mentor Network. This online platform connects students with alumni and promotes conversations about career exploration, job searching, résumés, interviewing, salary negotiation, and more. This is not only a great way to learn about different industries, it also is a great way to gain experience with networking.
Signing up for HMN only takes a couple of simple steps; under the page on the UConn CCD website click the “view resource” button. From here students will select the “Get Advice” option and sign up with either LinkedIn or inputting your own information. HMN is similar to LinkedIn as it has educational experience as well as work and volunteer experience.
When creating a profile on Husky Mentor Network it asks you to add industries you may be interested in as well as roles and locations. Once you complete your profile, the platform will match you with alumni, or you can search profiles on your own. When choosing which alumni to connect with, look at their past roles, companies they worked at, and what they specialize in helping with (e.g., career conversations, résumés, industry insights). Once I decided on which alum was a good match, I chose the “Career Conversation” topic from a drop-down and then selected 3 times on their schedule that worked for me. They got back to me within a day on which time worked best for them for a phone conversation. On the day of the call, I logged back into my Husky Mentor Network account and it provided a phone number for a conference line. The line opened 10 minutes prior to our appointment, and I was able to simply call in with my phone.
Before the appointment, you want to do some research into your mentor’s career path and prepare questions answering any role shift or company change that seems interesting to you. For my meeting with a mentor, I came up with the following questions:
- Tell me about your career path.
- What prompted the shift from one industry to another?
- Why did you choose this industry?
- Tell me more about this industry.
- Within this industry do you recommend obtaining a graduate or professional degree?
- If so, when do you think is the best time to pursue a graduate or professional degree?
- Do you have any advice for someone starting out in this industry?
View the Center for Career Development’s Informational Interviewing & Job Shadowing supplement for more sample questions.
My mentor was incredibly informative about their industry and was able to give me insight that will help me in making decisions down the road. After the phone meeting with my mentor, I made sure to connect with them on LinkedIn and send them a message thanking them for their time and valuable insight. I found my experience using this platform to be extremely beneficial and informative. If exploring different industries or gaining more knowledge about specific industries is something that interests you, then utilizing the Husky Mentor Network may be a great way for you to do so!