Contacting Carleton Alumni
Most Carleton alums are friendly, helpful, and eager to answer questions you might have about different professions, industries, cities, or what it's like to be a Carleton graduate in the world outside of Northfield. Here's how alums can help you:
- Helpful Advice - Have questions about a particular job or career field? Talk to an alum about their job to see if it's right for you! Ask questions about employers, cities, their job, and how Carleton helped prepare them for it.
- Jobs and Internships - Alumni are great resources for researching and finding job or internship opportunities. They can offer information, ideas, advice, and maybe even names of other people to contact. However — and this is the cardinal rule — Don't Ask Alums For A Job! It puts them in an awkward spot if they can't deliver and, furthermore, if they get inundated they are less likely to help other students.
Want to get in touch with an alum in a field you're interested in? Go to the online directory and you will be able to search by major, company, career, geographic location, and graduation year. To help you with your initial contact with an alum you will find template emails on three basic career-related topics on the right side of this web page–on informational interviewing, networking for an internship search, and networking for a job search. You may adapt any of these emails to your particular situation or you may simply use them as a guide in writing your own email.
Also, in contacting alums pay special attention to etiquette, including the following:
- View an email as you would a cover letter; it’s a professional contact.
- Check spelling and grammar.
- Check alumni gender so you know whether to say Mr. or Ms.
- Choose a professional tone rather than informality.
- Tailor each and every email sent to an alum. Never send the same email to mulitple alumni.
- Do your homework. Know something about the field or company so you can be thoughtful about the type of questions you ask. Be sure you are not asking a question that could easily be found on your own by doing a little research. Alumni are very busy, so be respectful of their time.
- Be transparent when contacting more than one alum within one organization. Here are a few recommendations on how to do that:
- "Hi Alum A, I'd love to talk to you about XYZ. I've also contacted Alum B and Alum C and am waiting to hear back from them."
- "Hi Alum A, I'd love to talk to you about XYZ. I've already spoken to Alum B about this but would like to get an alternative perspective."
- "Hi Alum A, Alum B, and Alum C, I'd love to talk to you about XYZ." (This is transparent and allows these alums to decide who should respond.)
- Do not miss appointments or phone calls.
- Do not delay in returning calls or emails.
- Always follow-up to let the alum know what has happened as a result of your interactions with them.
Ways you can contact a Carleton alum