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Mentoring a Student or Recent Grad

K alumni can make a significant contribution to students’ growth and workplace readiness by serving as mentors.

No matter where you live and work, or how much or little time you have to offer, there are many ways you can mentor students and recent grads.  You might:

  • Discuss career options, providing information about your own career and professional path
  • Provide a practice phone or Skype interview
  • Critique résumés or cover letters and provide feedback
  • Help a student make connections with other professionals in your field
  • Offer a job shadow or on-site visit to your place of employment
  • Assist with finding full-time employment
  • Share entry-level job openings via K-Connect
  • Discuss graduate school programs with which you are familiar
  • Host an employer table at recruiting events on campus
  • Visit campus for career panel discussions or Passions to Professions events
  • And more…

How do I get started as a mentor?

Launching in summer 2017, the Kalamazoo College Career Mentoring Network is a new mobile-friendly platform designed specifically to help K students and alumni connect. Students can browse lists of alumni who are working in fields that they’re interested in exploring, and then request one-on-one advisory sessions. You don’t need to be an expert or a luminary; all it takes is a few minutes to set up your profile (many fields can be pulled from your LinkedIn profile), and a willingness to talk about your career path, share advice, and provide insights on how you got from there to here. To get started, go to kzoo.wisr.io.

Another way to mentor students and young alumni is to join Kalamazoo College’s Professional Networking Group on LinkedIn.  Use the KPNG to:

  • Offer to introduce a student to someone in your LinkedIn network.
  • Offer to introduce a student to someone in your workplace/organization.
  • Brainstorm questions for an informational interview.
  • Offer to connect students interested in your field to professionals in your network outside of the Kalamazoo College alumni network.
  • Share an entry-level opportunity currently open at your organization. If none exist, share an open opportunity and explain how a recent K grad could work towards qualifying for consideration.

What’s the etiquette for making this kind of connection on LinkedIn? In the CCPD, we frequently coach students on how to reach out to professional KPNG members in career fields of interest. A student might make a public post asking for advice or send an individual KPNG member a private message such as “I notice that you have experience in the industry in which I hope to launch a career. Might you be willing to take a look at my current résumé and offer suggestions for improving it?”

Alternatively, an alumni member might post, “As a seasoned professional in my field, I’d be happy to review the résumés of current students interested in a similar path. Here’s the best way to reach me…”

The KPNG LinkedIn group is built to foster these types of connections between students and alumni anytime, anywhere. Most interactions take only a few minutes, and you choose the level of engagement that is best for you. Every group member has the ability to message every other group member--there’s no need to wait for a program or event to get started. Of course, we expect professional etiquette and courtesy from every member as we each find a way to contribute to the ever-growing global network of Hornet professionals.