Are you about to start a job hunt? Thinking about that next career move? If so, connecting with people with information and advice to help you achieve your career goals can be invaluable. Some call that networking; we think of it as building community.
A sense of community is a hallmark of the University. That tradition continues with alumni volunteers in the University Career Assistance Network (UCAN), who share job and career information and advice with fellow alumni and students.
UCAN is a searchable database in the Career Center section of HoosOnline, the alumni online community (hoosonline.virginia.edu).
When you make contact with a UCAN volunteer, let them know you found them on UCAN, you’re a fellow alum and you’d like to schedule 30 minutes at their convenience to discuss your job or career. Be clear that your purpose is information, not a job.
Do some homework before each appointment and be clear on what you want to ask. When you meet, reiterate what you said when you first connected. Let the person know you’d like to give a little background about yourself, ask a few questions, and then ask for ideas on other people you might talk with.
You are there for information and advice, so listening and taking notes are your major tasks. Send a thank-you note or email within 24 hours. Keep in touch with your UCAN connection.
Is there a cost for using UCAN? Not in monetary terms, but please, pay it forward. Become a UCAN connection and help other alumni and students by sharing your experiences, insights and advice.
Why Become a Volunteer?
Only you know what motivates you, but here are some good reasons:
- Connecting with alumni and students is a good way to keep tabs on what’s happening in your job/career market.
- If you are a hiring manager, U.Va. alumni and students are good potential recruits.
- You can expand your network community.
To volunteer, go to HoosOnline and, if you are already a member, sign on and click on the “update contact info” tab. In the Business section, check the box to become a UCAN connection. If you haven’t joined UCAN, complete the registration process and check the box to become a UCAN connection.
For more information, go to alumni.virginia.edu/career or contact Emily Bardeen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 434-243-9018.