If you could get into some funky time machine and go aaaaaaalll the way back to when you were a high school senior, what kind of advice would you give to your younger, less enlightened self, and how would that impact where you are today? Maybe you’d realize that all iPhones really are the same and not spend your hard-earned paycheck on the latest model, or never make that post on Instagram (you know which one I’m talking about), or tell yourself to steer clear of Calculus and Organic Chemistry in your first college semester, or maybe you’d simply choose a different major. Whatever bits of future-facing wisdom you’d share with yourself, the point is—information is powerful—especially when it comes with insight from someone who has walked the path before you. The bummer is that time machines don’t exist just yet. Neither do career crystal balls. So, how can you still tap into that kind of priceless information to help you advance your career interests?
Enter Student-Alumni Career Connect (SACC)! Finally, something that does what it says it will—CONNECT…STUDENTS…with ALUMNI…to talk about CAREERS. It’s that simple. Alumni have chosen to sign up on SACC (no arm-twisting, we promise) to speak with you about all your pressing career questions and concerns. Think of the alumni as “you” a few years from now—maybe with a few more grey hairs in some cases, but also full of valuable knowledge related to your career field. For example, imagine if could ask alumni what they were able to do with their major to help you decide what to study, or you could ask someone who hires in your field to review your resume before submitting it; or, find out what interview questions they would ask a college student seeking an internship. That kind of feedback gives you a major advantage!
As the old saying goes, "It’s not what you know, but who you know." Alumni who work in your field can help you identify the specific skills, education, and experiences that you can start developing now—before you graduate. You will feel confident that your field is a good fit for you, and will find career opportunities that you’ll enjoy. While you should probably refrain from directly asking the alumni mentors on SACC for an internship or job, you never know where the professional relationships that you build will lead. Remember, people like helping others that they know and like.
That’s all great stuff, but networking online can be intimidating. You might be asking yourself, how do I get started talking to alumni? Here are the top five questions that you can ask alumni once you sign up for SACC:
1. What does a typical day in your work life look like?
2. What do you love/hate about your career?
3. How do students, or recent graduates, find internship/job opportunities in this field?
4. What can I do to stand out from the competition in this field?
5. What would you have told yourself a few years back about going into this field?
So let’s recap. SACC helps me explore career options…check. SACC helps me learn how to stand out in my field …check. SACC helps me get amazing advice from alumni who have been where I am today… …check. If you'd like a long-term relationship with Rutgers alumni, check out CES' RTIPS program, which meticulously pairs students with an alumni industry expert for personal and professional benefit.
Now, all that’s left to do is sign up for SACC and start making meaningful professional connections. Trust me; your future self will thank you!