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I’ve Been Matched With a Career Volunteer, Now What?

An SPU student meets with a mentor | photo by Lynn Anselmi

Communicating With Your Career Volunteer

Once you are matched, your career volunteer will be asked to contact you within one week. If you do not hear from them, feel free to initiate contact after the first week has gone by.

Top 10 Tips for making the most of your time with your career volunteer:

  1. Be responsive and professional. Respond to their email the same day if possible, or within one to two business days. Also, keep in mind: this isn’t texting, so use full sentences and proper punctuation and capitalization.
  2. Be clear in your availability. Your initial goal is to find a common day or time frame when you are free to connect with a career volunteer or work on an informational interview/project/job. Factor in all your commitments and be direct about your availability and flexibility.
  3. Feel free to ask questions. The career volunteer should take the lead in connecting with you, and offer a plan for your time together. Be sure to share about your access to technology (Zoom, Facetime, Teams, etc.) .
  4. Tell the career volunteer a little more about yourself. They will have access to your application information, but the more you articulate your interests, the better.
  5. Think through what you need to know and ask if any pieces are unclear.
    • How will you communicate with your career volunteer (Zoom, Facetime, Teams, etc.)? Ask which mode you’ll be using, and make sure you have a phone number or link to connect online.
    • For your conversation, find a place where you have the best chance to maintain focus.
    • Consider what your career volunteer might hear or see in your background, and do what you can to minimize these distractions.
    • Demonstrate respect, listen actively, and offer thanks.
  6. Do your homework. Research your career volunteer’s company/organization and come prepared with thoughtful questions. Then, “What do you do?” turns into “How does your company’s [insert goal/policy] have an impact on your work?”
  7. Give each other grace. These are unprecedented times. Stay flexible and focus on what is important: the chance for you two to connect. Many professionals are working from home and under circumstances that are not typical, just like you. If you think you may be disrupted during your chat, let your career volunteer know and make a plan (“If we get disconnected, I’ll call you right back”).
  8. Communicate if your availability changes. Remember that you are acting as a representative of SPU while participating in this program. If you are unable to follow through on your commitment, please communicate with your career volunteer well in advance of your visit to see whether you can reschedule. Do not ghost them.
  9. Stay engaged after you set up your time together. We will communicate with you throughout the program with tips and new information.
  10. Follow up with a thank you card in the mail, or a thank you email when you are finished working with the career volunteer.

The SPU community is volunteering their time to help SPU students and we want to make sure they have great experiences so that they will continue to help future students like you!