Updated: Mar 26, 2020
Lehigh Connects provides a great way to network and communicate with the Lehigh Community, including alumni professionals. Log in today to browse thousands of alumni profiles for information and advice on your career goals. Now is the perfect time to maximize networking advantages during your job or internship search, even from your couch.
What is Lehigh Connects?
Think of Lehigh Connects as Lehigh’s own LinkedIn. We asked alumni volunteers who would be willing to support students shape their career goals and prepare for life after Lehigh to join and set up a profile. Students are encouraged to sign in to browse alumni profiles to find an alum in a position, company or industry of interest. The purpose of this network is to connect students to alumni who have professional experience, resources, advice and industry knowledge that will help students explore career options or be ready to start their own career paths. To date over 9,000 messages have been sent and 5,000+ users engage on the website.
How do I find someone that will be helpful for me?
Start by using the filters to narrow down profiles that align with your specific interests. You can sort by academic major, industry, location, keyword and more. Consider choosing 3-5 alumni to talk with, even if they work in different jobs. This may help you collect information from a variety of sources with varying viewpoints and knowledge. Networking isn’t limited to finding one long term mentor and we suggest using multiple people on Lehigh Connects to ask for help or advice.
You can also pose questions for all mentors on the Community Questions tab. This is a great way to collect information from multiple people or identify specific advice when filters are sufficient.
I am looking for advice on how to get hired working for a startup. Can anyone share resources or advice on that type of job search?
I have a job offer for a company that will require me to relocate. Has anyone had experience negotiating for relocation costs and how to estimate a budget for those expenses?
As a freshman, I want to make the most of my summer but I have not yet chosen a major. What types of activities could I do this summer to help grow my resume if I am not sure on careers I might pursue after graduation?
What do I say on Lehigh Connects?
The communication tools are easy to navigate and since the alumni have already agreed to participate you don’t have to wait for an “approval” step to send a message. Click the “Lets Connect” button to choose between a long term mentor (communications are expected at least once per month) or Send Message/Request meeting option.
Start by introducing yourself and sharing details like your major and graduation date. Its also helpful to ask a couple questions to request their advice or information. Don’t overwhelm them by asking too many questions, in your first message choose 2-4 questions to include. Also be prepared that an alum may write back to request a phone call to discuss your questions, which may be easier for them than typing out answers. Be flexible and agree to communicate in a way that works best for them. Keep the conversation going by asking additional questions in follow up messages.
I recently declared Sociology as my major and I am exploring some of the career options that connect to my degree including careers in the non-profit industry. I was drawn to the philanthropy you mentioned on your profile on Lehigh Connects. Can you tell me more about the first jobs you had and how you got established? What drew you to working in the nonprofit world? What skills do you use every day? How much of your day do you work independently vs collaborating with a team? What are the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?
Thank you for any insight or advice you can provide. I would love to learn more about your role through job shadowing if there is day this summer I could spend with you.
I am an Earth and Environmental studies student preparing to graduate this May. Ideally, I would love to pursue full-time positions related to conservation. I found your profile on Lehigh Connects interesting because I imagine most of your day does not happen behind a desk. What advice do you have for me if I wanted to begin a career that is similar to yours? Could you help me identify entry level job titles that I should look for and suggestions on the job boards that hire for environmental related positions? Do you have recommendations of companies in the New York or Philadelphia area that I could apply to?
Thank you for any insight or advice you can provide. I would love to share my resume with you in case you have the opportunity to pass it along to anyone who might be hiring.
You can also get more assistance with Networking from our online guide.
What if I sound stupid or bother them?
This concern comes up a lot and when posed to the alum, they were quick to point out that every alumni was once a student and felt the same way. If you knew everything - would you even need a community like Lehigh Connects? In fact, many alumni offered to be mentors to the very students who felt this way.
John Goldman said “I understand how you might be concerned about bothering someone, but the truth is, most experienced professionals enjoy being asked for help on a professional level. If they have stated that they want to be a mentor, then you should have no reservations about contacting them.”
Andrew Cognetta shared “No worries. Most of us are still the awkward kids we were in our freshman dorm room as we got dropped off on our first day. We still get it, even if we look older and our titles seem impressive.”
Corey Oltyan replied “Most people have been in your shoes at some point in their careers, even the most successful, so take advantage of their experience. Be up front about your concerns but don’t let that stop you from reaching out. As folks have mentioned, people who want to be mentors want to help.”
How will networking impact my job or internship search?
Here are a few suggestions of specific questions to ask on Lehigh Connects that can help you shape your next steps during a job or internship search. It is always our advice to avoid directly asking for a job, not everyone is a hiring manager. But, everyone can provide advice or information that you can use.
What were some steps you took during your job search that proved successful?
Can you share my resume or refer to someone that is hiring?
What companies or resources should I check out if I wanted to identify open positions?
Could you provide resume feedback to help me get my document ready for applications?
When does your company typically hire interns/recent grads?
What job titles should I look for on job boards to begin a career in your field?
What were some of the first positions you took when starting your career?
Can you share some suggestions of things I could do this summer to build experience?
How should I start my job/internship search?
What are the most important things to do first if I want to apply to your organization?
Who should I reach out to in order to get information about future job opportunities?
Could I reach out again in the future to see if you have any new job leads?
What do I do if they don’t respond to my message?
Since all the participants on Lehigh Connects voluntarily signed up to mentor students, we do ask that they respond to messages within 2 business day, but life happens! Take the initiative again and send a friendly follow up. Be sure you stress your on-going interest NOT annoyance that you haven’t heard back yet. Summarize the reason for your message, without repeating the original message and don’t forget your manners. Be patient for a response, but also consider reaching out to other alumni as well.
Example follow up message:
Dear (Alumni Name),
Hello again from Lehigh University! I wanted to touch base to see if you had a chance to review my previous message I sent on (date). I am still very interested in speaking with you, as I feel your advice would impact how I make a decision about (choosing a major/starting my job search/etc). Specifically, I was hoping you could answer a few questions regarding (topic). If you would prefer to arrange a phone call, please let me know a couple times and dates that are open for you and I will confirm what time works best around my class schedule. You are also welcome to message me back on Lehigh Connects if that is easier.
Thanks again for volunteering on Lehigh Connects. I am thankful for the opportunity to learn from an industry professional who also shares a Lehigh background.
Networking is an important part of a job or internship search. In fact, networking steps should be at least 50% of your time during a search. Using tools like Lehigh Connects is a great way to identify job or internship leads, collect advice specific to your industry and make connections to people who can serve as references for you. Log in today on Lehigh Connects.