Enhance your career connections with VCU Link.
This new online community allows you to access a database of alumni and friends of VCU who are ready to chat and advise you along your career journey. You can search by major, industry, company, etc! Once you identify someone you would like to connect with, send them a message. Enjoy industry networking and develop meaningful professional relations with VCU Link.
Do you want to learn more about a specific organization or career field? Well, often the most current and relevant information may not be available through a simple Google search. You need to talk to people who are actually working in that career field or for that organization.
But I feel weird reaching out to people I don’t know…
You may feel awkward making arrangements to talk with people you don't know, but don’t worry! Our contacts in VCU Link are looking forward to hearing from you. And just in case that isn’t enough, here are some tips to help:
• Determine the key points you wish to learn during your conversation and develop your questions. Be ready with 7-10 questions.
• Be courteous and mindful of their time. Limit yourself to 20 minutes and at the end of 20 minutes, thank them and be ready to leave. If they invite you to stay longer, then do.
• Be sure to send a “thank you” email or note to anyone who gives you their time and attention for a chat.
But I’m not sure what questions to ask…
Here are some questions you can use when chatting on VCU Link:
1. Describe your career path. What was your first job in this field? What was the progression of jobs you had in order to get to your present position?
2. What is your educational background? What courses best prepared you for this position?
3. What is the most satisfying part of your job? Least satisfying?
4. How happy are you with your current position?
5. Would you choose to enter this field again? If not, what other field would you choose?
6. What professional organizations do you recommend?
7. Knowing what you know now about your field, what courses or training would you have done differently?
8. What are the most valued skills in this field? How can I best obtain these skills?
9. What is your biggest responsibility, and how much pressure do you feel from this responsibility?
10. How do you feel your salary compares to other occupations with the same educational requirements, skills, and level of responsibility?
11. How much travel and/or geographic relocation is required in your field?
12. What is a lesson that you have learned as a professional in this field that you wished you had known when you were a student and/or new professional?
13. Can you suggest other people I might be able to interview who have similar career interests?
Want to learn even more about informational interviews? Check out this great career resource on understanding informational interviewing.
But I still have questions about VCU Link…
Feel free to contact your career adviser, Laura Lemza, with any questions you have!