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Alumni Answers: Finding and Pursuing Opportunities

Alumni Answers: Finding and Pursuing Opportunities

Dear Alumni,
I often find it difficult to be proactive about pursuing job opportunities on my own, especially when I am not sure what I want to do long term. This often results in my waiting for opportunities to fall into my lap, which does not always happen. Do you have any advice about how to be more successful in finding and pursuing job opportunities? Thanks! (Anne, Senior, English & Classical Philology-Latin)

Phillip W. (BS Biology, 2015), Fulbright Research Scholar, Fulbright Organization (Madrid, Spain)

Nobody is going to seek you out for great opportunities. If you’re in search of motivation, imagine a life in which no one cares whether you’re able to earn a comfortable living or not. Then, take a second and realize that that reality will be yours come graduation in May. People in the professional world pay for performance and results – you either deliver or they will find someone who will. John Wooden said “90% of life is showing up.” The first thing to do to find a job is ask. Send emails, make phone calls, and network. Meet with professionals to ask what they do, why they do it, and how they got to that position. Go with a specific set of questions that you want answered, and after a meeting, always follow up with an email. You also need to be proactive in joining listservs and job boards and monitor them closely (e.g. The Heritage Foundation Job Bank – 100+ pages of jobs in every imaginable field and position levels ranging from upper level executives to internships at organizations that share a UD philosophy). After that, just apply like your life depends on it.

Victoria W. (BA Psychology, 2013), Program Manager at Catalyst Health Network

Hi Anne, First of all, it’s perfectly fine that you don’t know what you want long term. You may not know until you enter the workforce. Rather than thinking of what job you want long term, focus on what you’re interested in. Explore jobs related to that interest. Be willing to be surprised, it’s one of the best parts of working! You should also think in terms of what you want out of your career. Do you want to be able to travel for your job? Do you want flexible hours? It’s okay to not know the answers now, but have those questions in mind. For example, if you know you prefer a flexible schedule, look for industries (such as tech) that tend to have them. You don’t have to figure everything out yet. Just think about your interests and find jobs related to that. Reach out to UD alums and utilize the school’s resources. You’ll be fine.

John P. (BA Politics, 1987), Senior Analyst at Legislative Budget Board, State of Texas

Look for internships, even if they are not paid. Unpaid internships can sometimes lead to paid work either at the same place or a different agency. It also helps you get contacts from people who might have a job or lnow about a job at a different place and this can help you in the long term. As for not being sure as to what you want to do in the long term, develop a plan B if you will . Think about something that even if it’s not your ideal job it’s something you would be willing to do for a living and develop some skills for that. When I left the University of Dallas many years ago my goal was to become a professor and I focused all my efforts in studying for that. When that did not work out, I really did not have a back up plan . It took me a while to switch career paths and this would have taken a much shorter time if I had taking advantage of an internship or otherwise had pursued skills earlier for another path in case this did not work out.

Cooper W. (BA Philosophy, 2012), Attorney at Malone Akerly Martin PLLC

Hi Anne, I hope you are well. Great question! It seems to me that you will continue to endure this struggle until you have decided what you would like to do long term (or at least have narrowed it down). In my experience, I have found that it is difficult to reach milestones if I do not have a specific goal. Until you decide what you would like to do, I’m afraid you will find it difficult to reach milestones in your professional life such as getting entry-level jobs in the field you would like to pursue. My suggestion for you would be to devote significant time to what you would like to do professionally. When deciding what I wanted to do, I started by figuring out what I wanted from my professional life (i.e., flexible hours, a challenge, good money, close to home, etc.). Spending time in prayer and meditation will be helpful was well. After determining what I wanted out of my professional life, it then became much easier to decide what career path I wanted to choose. Once I knew what I wanted to do, everything else fell into place. Hope this helps!

John P. (BA Fine Art, 1968; MA Fine Art, 1972), Self-employed Fine Artist

Dear Anne, This is an issue you share with most people, recent graduates and grizzled alumns. Blessed are those who have a clear idea of what they want to do, long term. For the rest of us, we aim for what seems best. Try to focus on values: meaningful, purposeful work, Specifics will become clearer in time. Job opportunities open through personal relationships. Talk with friends, colleagues, acquaintances and let them know that you are looking. Almost every job experience will be of benefit to you. Opportunities with “fall in your lap” after you let the world know that you are ready and able. Best wishes to you. It will all make sense later on.

Stephen L. (BA Political Philosophy), Chief Executive Officer at Dominus Commercial, Inc.

You must somehow have money?? my first job out of UD was when i was living with 4 other ud grads and they were about to kick me out of the apartment due to lack of rent/food/gas money. That motivated me – Opportunities only fall in the laps of those that are running towards them and stop and sit down for a short rest.

Todd S. (MBA Organizational Development 2012), Self-employed Talent Development Consultant

The first step is to think seriously about what you want to do. Consider completing an online assessment that helps you identify your strengths and interests. Also, look into finding a mentor who you can talk to and someone that can guide you in discovering some fields and/or industries you may want to look into.

Rachel L. (BS Biology, 2011), Certified Physician Assistant (PA-C)  at Children’s Medical Center

Hi Anne, I can understand your frustrations. Job searching can be so difficult. I see that you are an English and Classical Philology major. Do you plan to pursue a career in this field? Have there been topics in your classes that have fascinated you? Do you want to pursue further education in these areas? Think about the field you want to pursue. What do you love and what career do you see yourself pursuing? It can be hard to find the “perfect” job, especially as a new graduate. However, even if you start in a job that is not exactly your ideal job, you can make valuable contacts that can connect you to opportunities in the future. Keep an open mind. Apply to a wide range of jobs you may be interested in pursuing. Ask lots of questions in the interviews to find out if this is a good fit. Speak to your professors, too, they may have insight into career paths with your knowledge in these areas! I hope this helps! Best of luck! Rachel

Stan M. (BA Economics and MBA),  Retired, VP / Director, Sales Operations, Business Operations at Fujitsu, Cisco, HP, Compaq, and others

Anne, I know the feeling you are experiencing. It is difficult for people to reach out and sell themselves, and that goes for some of my friends who are excellent salespeople! The best way is to talk to people, network with your friends and their friends. You can have some wonderful conversations on this journey and can broaden your exposure and perspective on things you never dreamed of. Most of the jobs I’ve had have been directly due to, or supported by, connections to friends or institutions like UD. The first job I had, the President of the company knew a professor at UD. The second job was sponsored by a friend, fellow alum at UD. And another job the hiring manager had gone to school at UD and knew its quality reputation, and then he went on and hired me at 3 other companies in the last 25 years… Good luck and enjoy the journey as much as it may seem difficult.

John L. (BA Business, 2016), General Ledger Accountant I at Associa

Hi Anne, I believe that one of the best things you could do, particularly while at UD, would be to go to all the various job fairs that the career office holds as well as to sign up for the job alerts from the career office. There is a wide variety of employers that want UD students, and hopefully there are a few of them who you are intrigued by. When I was a senior and then later looking for a job after grad school, I knew generally what I wanted to do, so I was able to target my search towards a specific goal/area. But if you aren’t exactly sure what path you want to pursue, I think the wide variety of people that come through UD throughout the year should give you at least a good idea of paths you might consider that you otherwise wouldn’t or new ways to apply your knowledge and skills that you might not have thought of before.

Dean C. (BA Mathematics 1994), Senior Consulting Actuary at Willis Towers Watson

1. Career advancement office can be very helpful for resumes and they have numerous corporate contacts for internships and other opportunities 2. Find a company you like in the area and go to their careers page to find open positions, then craft a resume to suit a position which sounds interesting to you. There is no substitute for trying and failing a few times, so start getting interviews and see what floats to the top. Dallas is full of opportunities right now with very large companies coming to town recently and settling in for the long haul. Look at Toyota and State Farm in Plano, Kimberly Clark and Celanese in Las Colinas, as these are among some of the bigger players who are constantly looking for good talent. 3. Talk to friends at church and ask people about their job. Be social and step out of your comfort zone!

Alumni Answers: Building a Writing Portfolio

Alumni Answers: Building a Writing Portfolio

Dear Wendy,

When getting into the writing industry, did you find it necessary to have a writing portfolio or a showcase of your writing experience? If yes, what tips do you have for building a writing portfolio while still an undergraduate?


Hello Felicity,
You ask an important question regarding the writing industry. As a freelance writer,  it is absolutely necessary to have a writing portfolio. However, it is not always necessary to have a hard copy of the portfolio. In six years, I have used my physical portfolio once. You should post your portfolio online so potential clients can quickly and easily access your material. You can see an example at my website, or Google freelance writing portfolios. There are many ways to display your work.

Now for the tricky part, how does a young writer build a portfolio? I chose to volunteer my writing services for several non-profits and took smaller jobs for less pay at local companies. I also secured an internship at UD that focused heavily on writing and marketing. Once I had built a diverse portfolio with several successful pieces, I increased my fees to match industry prices in my area and targeted larger companies. Some writers choose to write spec pieces and add graphics to make them appear professional. I suggest you pick up a copy of The Well Fed Writer by Peter Bowerman and The Writer’s Market. Both books have invaluable information about freelancing, including sections on portfolios.

Wendy R., (English) Self-employed Writer

Alumni Answers: Asking Tough Questions

Alumni Answers: Asking Tough Questions

Dear Alumni, I was wondering how you handle hard conversations with employers. For example, when and how is it appropriate to ask for a pay raise? If you suffer from a chronic illness or disease, when should you let your employer know? Thank you!Jessica (Psychology 2020)

Chris G. (BA Business 2015), Corporate Trainer at Trintech, Inc.

Every (corporate) company should have some process for reviewing all their employees on an annual or semi-annual basis. These reviews should typically be based on your performance over that time period. You are usually eligible for a potential raise based on that performance. With this in mind, I would recommend during the interview process that you ask them what their formal process is for employee reviews and potential merit increase (pay raise). If they say they don’t have one, I would typically not recommend working for a company like that. The best employers regularly seek to reward and retain their best performers, and not having a process to do that is often an indicator that their employees on-the-job happiness is not one of their top priorities. I also want to point out that if you are applying for a start-up this advice may not be as applicable, since they are usually young and still formalizing their processes as they get their feet planted in the business world. You can still ask during the interview how regularly people receive raises or something along those lines. Ultimate point here: you should get this information during the interview process so you know when the appropriate times to have these conversations are. As for the second question, the answer varies based on the condition of the individual but in most cases, letting your employer/potential employer know that information upfront is critical. Most companies are accommodating of such things, but in order for them to accommodate they need to be aware. Again if you are truly qualified for the job and they are not willing to work with you based on an illness or disease, they probably aren’t the right fit for you anyway. Overall advice: the interview process goes both ways. You should be vetting if the company is right for you just as much as the company is seeing if you right for the role.

Victoria W. (BA Psychology 2013), Program Manager at Catalyst health Network

Hi Jessica, those conversations may not be easy, but they do not have to be uncomfortable. It does take practice. With regards to asking for a raise, each employer is different. Some discuss raises at your annual review, other at the end of the year. The standard raise is 5%, which covers cost of living increases. If you want a raise, research what the market average is for your position, education, and experience. Look at the work you do with an objective eye. Have you taken on more duties and responsibilities? Do you regularly do more than is expected of you? If so, take your research and number to your manager and have a conversation. Show what you’ve found, calmly state what you want and why you believe it’s justified. Ask if he/she believes it’s a fair number. If not, ask what you need to do to qualify for it and set a time to review your progress. With regards to your health, you are not obligated to tell your employer. If you have frequent doctor’s appointments or are out ill, you may give your employer the outline and arrange to work remotely (assuming you are able). You should look for companies with generous PTO and flexible working arrangements, they typically are the most receptive. Understand your rights as an employee (FMLA, etc). But also understand that your company has rights, too. If you are unable to perform your job due to an illness and working remotely is not an option, it is probably not the right job for you. Do NOT mention any illnesses in a job interview. It’s not their business and you want them to see you as a strong, qualified candidate, nothing else.

John P. (BA Politics 1987), Senior Analyst at Legislative Budget Board, State of Texas

I’m pretty cautious about asking for a raise. Instead of asking for a raise, I would ask what steps do I need to take to get promoted to the next level. Every employer knows everyone always wants a raise (including your boss!). By asking it this way, you’re saying, “How can I better help this organization?”It’s understood an increase in pay will usually go with it. As for suffering from a chronic illness, I would let your supervisor know early. It gives them time to plan to shift your workload to someone else, or make any necessary accommodations for you. The more lead time they have, the better the chances you and your employer will find a solution that works for you.

Todd S. (MBA Organization Development, 2012), Talent Development Consultant

Difficult conversations happen every day. I would recommend to treat your boss how you would like to be treated. How would you want someone to ask you for something, raise, etc.? It is likely best when you have proven your value, you are receiving accolades, etc. Based on the company, it may be best to wait until your performance discussion…but be prepared to justify why you deserve a raise. How are you compensated as it relates to others in the same role, experience, etc. Why should you get more? Are you under-paid? Etc… Talk to HR about the chronic illness or disease before you talk to your manager and do it ASAP so they do not think you are hiding something. Document so you can use in case of retaliatory actions.

Stephen L. (BA Political Philosophy), Chief Executive Officer at Dominus Commercial, Inc.

As an employer I would say you have those conversations when you have leverage – when you have accomplished something above and beyond and when the employer can’t replace you or it would cost them quite a bit to do so. Also start the conversation by asking how you are doing and if they are pleased with your work etc.

Dean C. (BA Mathematics 1994), Senior Consulting Actuary at Willis Towers Watson

eep in touch with your manager and establish a good relationship there. They should be your best advocate. Do not be pushy – I have several reports who constantly ask what do I have to do to get promoted. Do not be that guy! Having said that, as pat of annual or mid-year discussions about performance, it is quite appropriate to openly discuss pay and promotion opportunities with your manager who should be the one fighting for you with leadership.

Monica A. (BA History 2011), Account Supervisor, Retail, Commerce & Innovation, for Lexus at Team One

Hey Jessica. Nice to hear from you! The first question you raised relates directly to your professional growth and consequently, the value you provide to your employer. I would advise that in your first job, you wait at least a year to bring up a pay raise. Compensation and bonuses vary greatly by organization and you should ask what the standard process is during your interview process and again during the negotiation process. Your best chance at negotiating your salary will come before you accept an offer, and then after you’ve served some time and proven your value. Pay raises are generally in line with factors both within and outside of your control: your performance, profitability of the business or client you work on, etc. As for the second question, depending on the severity of your condition and the affect that it has on your day to day responsibilities, I’d have this conversation with your boss sooner rather than later.

Alumni Advisors: Using LinkedIn

Alumni Advisors: Using LinkedIn

Hello! I was wondering what you think of LinkedIn as a networking tool. Do you utilize any of its features, or is it just more useful for when you are trying to find someone specific on it? Michael (Business 2018)

Todd S. (MBA Organization Development, 2012), Talent Development Consultant

LinkedIn is a go-to site for employers, both recruiters, hiring managers and potential colleagues. Be sure to have a professional (not stuffy or too casual) picture, concise bullets about experience and education as well as volunteerism. Follow people and companies you are interested in and would like potential employers know you learn from. There are often people who you can pay a small fee to and they will help you have a really strong LinkedIn profile/page. Also, check out This is a new site where you track your learning…courses, articles, books, etc. I think this will be a system potential employers review in addition to LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.

Victoria W. (BA Psychology, 2013), Program Manager at Catalyst Health Network

Hi Michael, I don’t use LinkedIn much as a networking tool, but I know several others do. It’s really a matter of personal preference. I prefer to network over email or in person. It’s up to you and what you find the most useful. I’ve found that a lot of older contacts do not prefer LinkedIn. But, again, this is about personal preference. I really only use LinkedIn when trying to find someone specific, usually a job candidate. I will say that I put no stock in the “endorsements” section. Anyone can endorse you for skills they may or may not know you have. I care much more about your work experience on there. It’s a way to see more detail that may not make it into a resume.

Stephen L. (BA Political Philosophy), Chief Executive Officer at Dominus Commercial, Inc.

Linked in is one of the best networking tools that we use in our brokerage operation for hiring, prospecting and finding good partners/service providers.


Dean C. (BA Mathematics, 1994), Senior Consulting Actuary, Willis Towers Watson

I like it as a tool for locating and keeping up with friends and acquaintances. I would caution you to keep it clean, i.e. should be work related only and be kept professional. There is no need to Link In with your sister’s friend who works for the tattoo parlor and you should keep your information up to date. I only really use it when I need it, but I do receive the updates and notices of new contacts.

Chris G. (BA Business, 2015), Corporate Trainer, Trintech, Inc.

LinkedIn is a very powerful networking tool, BUT only if you take it with an uncommon networking approach. What do I mean? A lot of people think LinkedIn is about adding your professional connections and using the platform to reach out to them when needed (or they reach out to you when they need). If this was the best way to use LinkedIn, it would be a very weak tool at best. LinkedIn however is a personal branding tool; the networking piece actually comes as a result of how you build your personal brand. From the way you design your profile bio, to the content you follow, content you like, content you share, content you curate yourself, your presence on LinkedIn should distinctly show your personal brand. For example, I work in Training & Talent Development. So all the things I can follow, share, like, and post about it are all training-centric. The more I do this, the more I pop up in recruiters searches when they are seeking a talent-development professional. Your LinkedIn truly is your resume now. And it’s so much more powerful than just a resume on paper. You can’t translate passion on paper, but you can translate passion through a personal brand. My goal on LinkedIn is that whenever someone comes across my page or interactions, they see a driven and passionate talent development professional always looking to find the best ways to help people in their careers. I know this was probably a long-winded answer, but use LinkedIn as a tool to build your personal brand. When people see your brand and have a connection to it, the networking piece comes much more naturally. Hope this helps!

John L. (BA Business, 2016), General Ledger Accountant at Associa

I personally haven’t found it to be very useful. I use it more as an online, longer form resume and maybe to connect with someone specific, but as far as networking with a large group, I’ve found in person to be much more useful.


Monica A. (BA History, 2011), Account Supervisor, Retail, Commerce & Innovation, for Lexus at Team One

I’ve found LinkedIn to be a great networking tool. Several job opportunities presented to me have come about as a result of a recruiter viewing my profile and determining I was a potential fit for the open position. Keep in mind that LinkedIn is not another form of social media like Facebook or Instagram. It should not be used as such. Make your page professional and know that someone could very well make a hiring decision based on the information provided to them on your public page. You should have a professional headshot of just yourself, a concise summary that tells people who you are and what your interests and strengths are, and updated work/ curriculum/ extracurricular activities. LinkedIn also provides you with a platform to explore different organizations and view the types of employees that they hire for specific roles. Take an opportunity to peruse companies of interest to you and follow them. You’ll receive updates on the company, open position notifications, and more. There’s also an opportunity to use LinkedIn to follow thought and business influencers in various categories which provide relevant content that you can peruse on your down time. Staying informed and keeping abreast of breaking news and other updates in the various sectors you’re interested in is always a wise move.





Alumni Advisors: How can I build my network?

Alumni Advisors: How can I build my network?

I know the importance of building a network and maintaining connections, but the steps to do so seem rather vague. What is the most effective and efficient way to maintain network connections and relationships? Email them directly? What should I say? Use more indirect means (i.e. activity/updates on social media platforms)? Thank you for your time and advice. Angela (Biology, Pre-Vet 2018)

Personally I’m a fan of direct contacts. If you’re keeping a connection with me so I can make you aware of a job opening, I want to get to know you. Updates on social media go out to everyone, and they’re not as an informative as a direct contact. When I refer a person for a job opening, my reputation is on the on line. If you turn out to be a poor candidate, I may lose the respect of my colleagues, and they won’t trust me again if they are looking for someone. For me to really keep someone informed, I would at least like an email, and if you’re in the same town with them, offer to have lunch or coffee, something simple, saying you want to know a little more about their field or their agency/ company.

John P. (BA Politics, 2987), Senior Analyst at Legislative Budget Board, State of Texas



Hi, Angela! I find that LinkedIn is not only the preferred way for professionals to connect and maintain communications, but it effectively designs a résumé for you that is always current. You can also download and print that résumé. In addition, in my life coaching and job placement counseling that I do in my business (The Bearded Buddha), I tell my clients that employers will look to see whether a prospective employee has a LinkedIn account. This crosses all boundaries of fields/professions, even academia (though, depending on the discipline, there are online social media outlets that are specific to particular academic fields). Look me up on LinkedIn as “Randy Beeler”/”The Bearded Buddha” and connect with me there to test it out for yourself!

Randy B. (BA English, 1985), Life Coach/Tutor/Faculty at The Bearded Buddha



Hi Angela, you’re right, the steps are vague. But that’s okay! The best way to start connections is direct communication, whether in person conversation or email. Let them know why you’d like to connect with them and a little about yourself. Ask one or two specific questions. For example, if there is a UD alum who is a vet, reach out and ask how well UD prepared them for their career. I would avoid contacting them on personal social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc). You’re making professional connections, not social ones. LinkedIn connections and updates are fine, but direct communication is always best. Hope this helps!

Victoria W. (BA Psychology, 2013), Program Manager at Catalyst Health Network



Use LinkedIn as a social media base. Let your first connections know what you are looking for (company size, industry, location, job type, etc.). You can use LinkedIn profile and messaging, but the best way is certainly to talk to people (not email). Then begin using your primary network to introduce you to their network, again preferably through phone and meetings. Most people want to help, but know that everyone is busy and if you don’t succeed connecting at first, try again perhaps on a different time or day of week when they might have time.

Stan M. (BA Economics, MBA), Retired VP/Director, Sales Operations, Business Operations



These are great questions. To your first question, “What is the most effective means of building relationships?” I have learned that the best way to build professional relationships is to contact people directly. This would include emails, phone calls, letters, etc. Being active on social media has its place, but my opinion is that social media is for making connections rather than building relationships. Ideally, I will get a person’s contact information from social media but will contact them through a more personal means such as those I mentioned. To your second question, ”What do you say?” The best advice I have received is to personalize your communication. For example, I have a client who is in the roofing business. If I come across a legal article regarding roofing or a new law that effects roofers, I will send my client an email with this information. Doing this gives me a good reason to reach out, and allows me to start a dialogue wherein a can ask questions without it feeling forced. Best of luck to you!

Cooper W. (BA Philosophy, 2012), Attorney at Malone Akerly Martin PLLC



Couple of points: 1) Don’t be afraid to cold call or reach out to someone you think may be in a position to help you (LinkedIn is a great resource). No one is coming to you, but most people will try to help someone who reaches out to them. 2) Be specific in what you are looking for when you contact someone: a meeting for coffee for advice, inquiries about research or internship opportunities, etc.

Phillip W. (BS Biology, 2015), Fulbright Research Scholar in Madrid, Clinical Research Coordinator at Nationwide Children’s Hospital /Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center


Don’t think of them as “connections.” They should be living, breathing relationships; otherwise you’re putting the cart before the horse. A professional network is not a dusty rolodex of business cards you can turn to when you need a job. It’s a group of people-who don’t have to know one another-that you could go to lunch with or have a ten minute conversation with. Generally they know you on a person level (say, a high school friend’s parent) or a professional level (your supervisor at an internship). Your network will change as your career progresses and you gain work experience. At UD my network were the Resident Coordinator I worked for and the head of Campus Safety, my friends’ parents and my parents’ friends, and a few other people I had worked for since high school. Said another way, my network was simply the people I talked to most or had long-standing friendships with. Staying in touch was natural. For someone who knows you professionally like an internship supervisor, send them an e-mail or meet up for coffee once every few months. Ask about job prospects if you liked the company, catch up on things you’d talk about at lunch when you were an intern. There are plenty of people who want to help college students out. Stay in touch with the people you know in careers you think you’d enjoy, or people you admire, and ask to meet up every few months. When it’s job-hunting time the people who know and trust will be the people who can give you the strongest recommendations. They’ll also know you’re generally interested in them–and not just the “connection” or the doors they can open–because you’ve kept in touch with them regularly.

Justin L. (BA History, 2006), Chief Dispatcher at Southwest Airlines




I tend to be very old-school in my approach to networking. I do not use social media, although many of my colleagues my age and younger do. To establish contacts I prefer to initiate communication either in person at a professional conference or gathering, or, if necessary, I will send them in email or a regular letter. Depending on the age and computer usage of the person (just a search online can give you a hint if email is the way to go) I am contacting, sending a letter may be the most appropriate means (yes, I work with some people who despise electronic communication). Once initial contact has been established, I usually maintain contact via email or telephone. As for what you should say, first of all be honest. State who you are and your goals. I receive emails from undergraduate and graduate students from all over the world asking research questions and for my opinion about graduate programs. In order to best help them, I need some information about their background and what they want to achieve. Some individuals you contact may ignore you because they are swamped with work, are traveling, or are just uninterested, but most people really want to be helpful and assist younger people in getting ahead. Also, make sure in your messages that you are polite and formal until the person you are contacting tells you otherwise.

Robert Z. (BA History, 1994), Associate Professsor of History at Le Moyne College



Dear Angela, Build a foundational network through face-to-face interactions. Join professional organizations, volunteer your services, seek advice from mentors. Maintain connections through mail, notes, email, social media. Show a sincere interest in what your peers/connections are doing. Any positive effort on your part will be to your benefit.

John P. (BA Fine Art, MA Fine Art), Artist

I’m going to answer this question from the corporate angle as that is where I have experience. Build out a good, updated LinkedIn Profile. Everyone you meet in a professional or academic environment, be sure to add them. LinkedIn really has become the future of networking in the digital age. Add people you meet professionally and academically with a personalized note. Don’t just send the connection request. That extra detail shows you care. Over time you will build a strong network on LinkedIn that you can leverage. The second piece of my advice regarding LinkedIn is this. If you need to reach out to someone in your network, don’t hesitate to do so. They accepted your request and should be just as willing to help you out as you would be to help them out. And always help out someone in the capacity you can when they reach out to you. LinkedIn isn’t the only piece of networking but if you can master this, you’ll have a great start.

Chris G. (BA Business, 2015), Corporate Trainer at Trintech, Inc.



Hey Angela! Thanks for the note. Here’s a couple suggestions for you to consider. Create a LinkedIn profile and keep it updated with relevant work experiences and extracurricular activities. For instance, if you’re an aspiring vet school candidate, what relevant course work have you completed? What sorts of clubs or activities do you partake in outside school? How about volunteering at the local animal rescue or shadowing at a vet clinic? LinkedIn is increasingly being used in the professional world to source top candidates for open positions. Recruiters frequently conduct searches on the platform when they’re setting up interviews for hiring managers. Secondly, getting involved in activities pertaining to your desired career goals – even if it’s volunteering- will allow you to meet other people who may be good references or mentors in your field. Several internships not only give me real world experience but also letters of recommendation and references that I used for future job applications. Lastly, don’t forget to think about those folks in your immediate circle (parents, family friends, etc). These people likely know you the best and will be willing to make an introduction on your behalf. Good luck and hope this helps!

Monica A. (BA History, 2011), Account Supervisor, Retail, Commerce & Innovation, for Lexus at Team One



Angela, great question! The importance of building and maintaining a network of associates is certainly important! I’m glad that its importance is not lost on you! The element that you seem to describe as big, however, seems to me to be a vagueness of the best means of contact between colleagues or potential associates/ collaborators. Based on the wording of the question, it seems that the immediate assumption of using email and social media to network leaves out the most important connections of all, which are made through personal contact and phone calls. When a professional his first starting, it seems daunting, if not presumptuous, to assume that you can meet a contact face to face or call someone ‘important’ to speak with them directly but I promise you that this is the ultimate goal you want to have when building a network of relationships. Even if you are not always able to meet with someone face-to-face or call them at any given time, you want to have a relationship comfortable enough to know that they would feel comfortable accepting your call or you would feel confident meeting them face to face. So with this end goal in mind, then the steps to doing so are no longer vague, but quite clear. As you move through your college experience and answer your professional career think about the people you meet as parts of concentric circles. Look at the level of comfort and communication you have currently with your closest friends and associates (i.e. People you would meet face to face at a moments notice), then think about what steps it took to achieve that relationship. Once you have a sense of what it took to establish those connections, assess how those friends and contacts are connected to other people you might wish to meet. Work your power base of close friends and associates to foster other professional connections with people who you might ordinarily ‘just email’ or contact on Facebook. As you connect with other professionals through mutual friends and interests, you will find “networking” is actually friend-making just with a specific mutual goal in mind. There is no substitute for picking up the phone and meeting face to face. None. And the more concrete friendships you established with professionals the easier this will become.

Tommy R. (BA Drama, 2012), Remodeling Consultant at Power Home Remodeling Group



The best method is face to face conversations. If that is not possible due to distance or time, I recommend using a tool such as LinkedIn.

Chad B. (BA History, 2004), Group Leader-Certified Executive Leadership Coach at Daimler, Mercedes Benz Financial Services USA, LLC



Both email and social media are helpful to me in maintaining a connection to an institution like UD. It depends upon the content. Learning about events, fundraisers, and news works best over social media. Individual types of things – like this survey – work well by email.

Bethany L. (BA Sculpture, 2003), Visual Artist

Dear Rachel, What kind of clinical and health care experience did you seek out while you were at UD? Thank you, Rebecca (Biology 2018)

Dear Rachel, What kind of clinical and health care experience did you seek out while you were at UD? Thank you, Rebecca (Biology 2018)

Hi, Rebecca! I tried to seek out any opportunity I could in the health care field. I volunteered in the Student Health Clinic for a few semesters. I shadowed several PAs and MDs at Parkland Hospital and Children’s Medical Center. I worked in a pediatric clinic during the summer. Each experience provided me with a different view of the health care field to help me in my decision to become a PA!

Rachel L. (BS Biology 2011), Certified Physician Assistant at Children’s Medical Center