Starting Out on the Right Foot
It can be difficult to make that initial contact with someone you have never met. Your first email should be professional and to the point. Here is a sample email to help you get started:
Subject Line: Seeking Career Advice from SLC Alumna
Hello (Mr. or Ms. __________)
My name is Sally Sweetz and I am a fellow alumna of Sarah Lawrence College. I am currently working as an accountant with in a small firm, but have been looking to make the transition into the non-profit sector. I found your contact information through SLC's Professional Directory and noticed that you have experience in the field of non-profit fundraising. I am interested in learning more about this area and am hoping to ask you a few questions. Please let me know when might be a good time to set up a quick meeting. My contact information is below.
Thank you for your help. I look forward to hearing from you!
Building a Relationship
Building a relationship can be helpful in many ways. Here are ways to keep in contact after your initial email:
- Informational Interviews
- Resume Critiques
- Company Site Visits/Shadowing
- Mock Interviews
- Gaining Additional Contacts (referrals)
- Manage your Expectations: This program is intended to help you gather information, not to ask for a job/internship.
- Be Patient: Respect that your contacts are professionals with their own commitments. If you are asking to meet, you will likely have to wait until it is convenient for them.
- Don't waste your contact's time: Before making a contact, know basic information about the company/field, as well as what your purpose is for contacting someone. For example: If you are inquiring about the profession, have specific questions in mind to ask, rather than "tell me all about your field".
- Don't expect too much at once. Don't burden your contact with overwhelming requests all at once. You can always ask more at a later time. Don't be demanding!
- Listen. When someone is kind enough to offer you job advice, listen attentively!
- Keep things in perspective: Remember that one contact's opinions/perspectives should be taken as an opinion/perspective!
- Get permission before using a contact's name as a reference or to approach another prospective contact.
- Say thank you! A note of appreciation or a phone call to say how they've helped goes a long ways towards ensuring continued success.
Looking to help your fellow alumni?
Many alumni have expressed interest in helping fellow alumni and current SLC seniors. This means that you are willing to be contacted for information in your given professional field.
To choose to be listed here, please signify this on your personal profile by clicking the appropriate checkbox for your vocation. Click here to update your personal information.