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Student guide to Viking Connections

alumni meeting

Here are some guidelines and tips for students who want to use Viking Connections.

Before you start, make sure your LinkedIn profile is complete and up-to-date.

Review your profile using the LinkedIn profile checklist. (If you are new to LinkedIn, start with this LinkedIn Resource.)

Now you are ready to make a connection.

1. Learn about each Alumni Connector from their bio pages or LinkedIn profiles.

2. Get in touch with your chosen Connector through the preferred contact information on their bio page, or LinkedIn. Remember, the purpose of this connection is to get acquainted, not to ask for a job.

3. Create an introduction message

An engaging message is your first – and perhaps only – first impression!

For consistency and simplicity reasons, consider customizing the message below with one or two things you are interested in learning more about this alumnus. This could be their career field, their job title, their location, and their major, or really anything they listed on their profile. 

I see you are a Connector in Viking Connections. I would like to connect with you because I am interested in learning more about ____________.  Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Or by email:

Subject: Hello! A quick question from Augustana Student

Dear <first name>,

I am currently a <year in college> pursuing a degree in <your degree/major>. I saw you are a Connector in Viking Connections.  I would like to connect with you because I am interested in learning more about ______________. 

I would love to hear more about what you do and any insights or advice you might have on _________________. 

Any help would be extremely appreciated!

Thanks,

Name, email, mobile phone

Communicating with your Connector

Effective communication is essential to any healthy relationship and a mentorship is no exception. Be professional in all of your communications, whether it is through email, over the phone, via Skype, or in person.

While you may not be accustomed to using email as your primary method of communication, it is the preferred way for most Connectors to keep in touch. Developing professional email practices and decorum now will help you in the future. It is professional and polite to respond to emails with at least an acknowledgement within 24-48 hours of receiving the email. Students have found these guidelines to be helpful:

• Talk and/or meet on a regular basis.

• If in-person meetings are not possible, explore video chats.

• Establish a set date and time to talk (i.e. every other Tuesday night at 8 p.m.); always set up and confirm your next meeting before your previous one ends. If you are unable to make it for a scheduled meeting, contact your mentor as soon as possible.

• Be honest with your mentor about your schedule. Don’t skip class, review sessions, or office hours if you need to attend. Your mentor was once a student and understands your academic responsibilities.

• Develop an agenda for each conversation. Have questions and topics ready to discuss. Many mentors are taking time out of their work day to talk with you, so you want to make the most of your time. Also, remember that they are respecting your time as a student, so you should respect their time as a professional and come to the conversation prepared.

Next steps and recommended activities

Informational interviews

As replies begin to roll in, set up phone meetings, Skype calls and/or face-to-face meetings. These informational interviews will enable you to connect with the alumni — and allow you to demonstrate your passion to an influencer in your industry of choice.  Learn more about informational interviews in this Handshake Resource.

Remember that networking is not asking someone for a job. Networking is about building a professional network that could lead to referrals.

Reviewing search and application materials

Ask that the Connector review your search materials, including your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile. If you are seeking entrance to a graduate/professional school program, consider asking that they review your personal statement and application materials. Talk to your mentor about ways to enhance your LinkedIn account.

Academic-related activities

Review options for classes during upcoming semesters, discuss possible majors and minor choices, discuss global experience such as study away and international internships, and talk about campus involvement or national professional associations. Not planning on having an international experience? Talk with your Connector about other ways to get a global experience.

Professional activities

Shadow your Connector at work for a day, discuss best practices for professional workplace etiquette, brainstorm a list of organizations to research summers jobs and internships, attend career fairs, on-campus career programs, and other career-development events and then discuss them with your Connector. Ask your Connector to conduct a mock interview with you. Talk to your mentor about perfecting your “elevator pitch” at career fairs and networking events.

Career readiness activities

Discuss any career or skills assessment results with Connector, discuss internship, job, or graduate program offers, and talk about what to expect from life after Augie.

Additional contacts

Often people know a lot of other people within their personal and professional circles who also could be helpful.  Be open and gracious when offered an introduction to a Connector’s contacts. Always send a thank-you. 

Your career coach

Your career coach in Career Development is here to assist with this process. If you would like help or just need a dose of encouragement, schedule an appointment through Handshake.

Questions or concerns

If you are having difficulty contacting your Connector or have general feedback, contact the Career Development Office at 309-794-7339 or careerdevelopment@augustana.edu.

Internships and jobs

Internships and full-time jobs are not expected to be a regular part of the mentor program. However, if opportunities do arise for a mentor to assist a student in obtaining an internship or full-time job, the following guidelines should be observed.

  • Recognize that internship and job placement assistance is often a very personal and always a highly professional matter.
  • Typically referrals are only given where a long-term prior relationship exists. Thus, referrals and job assistance are rare in the mentor program.
  • Though it is acceptable to ask for and/or to seek advice in connection with obtaining an internship or job referral, remember that you are using the good name and resources of your mentor to obtain the introduction and perhaps gain an interview in a very competitive position.
  • If such assistance is offered, close communication with the mentor is critical.
  • Recognize that your actions in pursuing the opportunity will often reflect on the mentor.
  • If you are offered an internship/job, you must, in all circumstances, report back to the mentor regarding your course of action, particularly, if you decide to reject the offer, once you receive it.
  • If you decide to reject the offer, discuss this thoroughly with the mentor, before informing the company where the position was offered.
  •  If you decide to take the internship or job, recognize that your employer will most likely report back to your mentor on your experience with the company.
  • Be appreciative and respectful of the opportunity that has been offered to you.

How to get involved

Tell us why you'd like to join the program.