Our Career Network allows alumnae and students to find one another and stay connected—through all transitions of life. Members of the Career Network can offer and seek career advice from sister alumnae and current students.
Please note: If you opt into the Career Network, current MHC students will have access to your contact information and may contact you directly.
New to Career Networking? Please read our Career Network guidelines.
- We know you are busy. Both adviser and advisee should respect one another’s time. If you receive an email from a student that you cannot respond to in a timely manner, please acknowledge it quickly and let her know when you will be available to respond.
- Students may feel uncomfortable at first. Don’t hesitate to ask your advisee for information about her background, career goals, and expectations to break the ice. Some advisees might not know what to ask immediately and will appreciate you initiating the discussion.
- Let the Association know. The Alumnae Association is here to foster relationships among Mount Holyoke women. Contact us to tell us how it is going. Remember that students should never solicit you for anything—you have volunteered to offer advice only.
Sample questions that you may be asked:
- Will you describe what you do on a daily basis?
- What types of positions are available in your field?
- What general skills are most important to succeed in your field?
- What kind of training, education, or background do you recommend?
- What are some alternative methods of entry into your field?
- What characterizes a typical entry-level position in your field?
- What is the outlook for the future of your field in terms of new and expanding employment opportunities?
- What are some of your organization’s strategic goals?
- What is the philosophy of your organization?
- What types of employment-training programs are available?
- What is a typical career path from entry-level to top management?
- Choose advisers and make contact with a specific purpose in mind. Introduce yourself and clearly articulate what you are looking for and how the adviser may be able to help you.
- Contact advisers using the preferred means of contact noted in their directory profiles, and state how you received their names.
- Write and speak with a positive, respectful, and professional tone. Please refer to the Content of First Contact guidelines below.
- Ask advisers for career-related advice, job/internship search strategies, or an informational interview, within the adviser’s industry category or job function. Ask questions that you could not answer from a website or other non-personal source.
- Research the adviser’s background and her organization. Be able to demonstrate knowledge about her during your initial contact. Is she a recent alumna or an experienced professional? What position does she hold in her industry?
- Suggest a next step (phone call, email, etc.).
- Always thank the adviser for her time and assistance.
- Follow up with your contact(s) in person, if possible, and also on LinkedIn via the Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College group.
- Ask alumnae for basic information that you could have researched online. Demonstrating that you took the time to research her background often permits a richer conversation and sharing of information.
- Send generic emails to lists of alumnae. Instead, make a few high-quality contacts. As a rule of thumb, we recommend contacting no more than five alumnae to start.
- Ask for a job, internship, or funding. Rather, use the contact to obtain general insights into a career, industry, or career-related interest.
- Ask if she offers housing unless she has indicated as such in her directory profile.
- Send a résumé unless you are asked for it. Instead, introduce yourself, express your reasons for contacting the adviser, and describe what you are seeking to accomplish through the interaction.
- Slip into casual language or speech. Avoid starting your emails with “Hi _____!” and/or using smiley faces or Facebook/text message jargon when speaking with alumnae in a professional capacity.
Note: You may lose your Career Network privileges if you fail to follow these guidelines.
For more tips:
- Visit the Career Development Center’s website on Networking and Informational Interviewing
- View these videos on YouTube—LinkedIn Grad Guide:
Turning Relationships into Opportunity
Building a Professional Network
How to contact an advisor
Content of first contact message:
- Use a direct subject line in your email. Example: Mount Holyoke Career Network
- Briefly introduce who you are and why you are contacting the person.
- Make your “ask.” Example: Would you be willing to offer me some career advice or insight into your company/industry? (Later, as you build your relationship with an alumna, you may want to ask more questions about her experience at Mount Holyoke or for other individuals to whom you can connect.)
- Politely thank the person for considering your request. Be focused and direct in your initial correspondence.
Dear Ms. Lyon,
Hello! My name is Torrey Kendall and I recently discovered your profile in the Mount Holyoke alumnae directory and found your career information intriguing. I am considering pursuing a career in Arts Administration and would love to speak with you about your career path and ask for advice on how to navigate the field. Please let me know if you would be willing to speak with me. I am available to chat with you over the phone, in person, or via email—whichever works best for you. Thank you for taking the time to consider my request. I look forward to hearing from you!
Torrey Kendall ’15
Alternative content depending on circumstances:
At your request, I have attached my resume for your review to help you gain a better understanding of my background, interests, and experiences.
I would like to request an informational interview with you at your earliest convenience either in person or over the phone to learn more about your career path as well as resources for navigating the profession/industry.
Job or Internship Search Strategy
Would you be willing to share some industry specific resources and tips for searching for an internship/job? I have also visited the MHC Career Development Center and asked relevant faculty and staff on campus for advice, but thought that your professional expertise would elevate my search process.