English Network alumni are graduates of SFU’s English Department, some recent some not so recent. They work in dozens of different fields locally, nationally, and internationally. They are participating in this program because they are interested in helping current and recently graduated SFU students make the transition from SFU to the post-university world.
Since our alumni are busy professionals offering you their time and expertise, it is important that students conduct themselves accordingly and follow these simple guidelines:
- Contact the mentor stating that you are a student in the English Department at SFU participating in The English Network.
- Follow up with correspondence promptly, and give at least 24 hours notice if you need to cancel or reschedule an arranged meeting or electronic conversation.
- Be prepared, be punctual, dress appropriately, etc. (see What is an informational interview?).
- After your first meeting, send a follow-up email thanking the person for their time, and requesting or confirming any future visits or conversations.
Face-to-face meetings are preferable, though some alumni are only available by phone and/or Skype. Meeting at the mentor’s workplace is best, but you can make other arrangements. You are not required to meet more than once. You may end up arranging a second meeting during your first one, or meeting several times, or you may learn all you need to learn in the first meeting. Regardless, please abide by the expectations listed above.
Your first meeting with one of our alumni can be considered an informational interview. This is not a job interview, but rather your chance to interview someone about his or her job, to learn more about a particular career: what a typical day entails, what the workplace culture is like, what you might expect as a starting salary, the overall pros and cons, etc. The key to a successful informational interview is preparation; you will be expected to read the guidelines called “The TIARA Model” before you are given access to the list of alumni. The following websites are also very helpful in preparing you for an effective informational interview:
- To access the list of English Network alumni, contact Kathryn Ward, the Undergraduate Advisor. She will ask you to sign an agreement stating that you have read the expectations (above), and will then authorize you to access the website.
- On the site, you can view the participants’ names, photos, contact information, personal and professional biographies, and the types of mentorship they are willing to provide. In some cases, clicking on the person’s name will take you to a LinkedIn profile. Alumni are listed both alphabetically and by profession. Those whose careers transcend single categories will appear under more than one profession.
- You can choose an alumnus based upon a recommendation from another student, or you can browse the professions that interest you, taking note of what sorts of mentorship each person is willing to provide, their availability, their location, etc.