Questions to Ask an Alumni Advisor
QUESTIONS ABOUT UMASS
Use these to break the ice and develop a rapport with your advisor. Seek to find common ground, and be open to sharing your own experiences, including activities inside and outside the classroom.
QUESTIONS ABOUT THEIR PROFESSION
- What was your favorite part of your UMass experience?
- What was your first job after graduation? How did you get it?
- Has anyone in your life been a mentor to you? How did their advice help you?
Use these questions to get an understanding of the advisor’s current work and future plans. Prepare for the call by reviewing your advisor’s profile on the Alumni Advisor Network or even LinkedIn.
- I am interested in [specific responsibility or area of work]. Can you tell me about your experience with that?
- What is an average work day like?
- What’s something about your work that you really enjoy?
- What’s one of your biggest challenges?
- What will be the next step in your career?
Tip: Take note of how the advisor describes their work and impress your advisor by referencing something about their work from their profile, like “I saw on your profile that one of your main responsibilities is… Can you tell me more about that?”
QUESTIONS ABOUT PERSONAL/PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Ask your advisor how you can develop the skills and traits needed to succeed in the field.
- What academic or extracurricular experiences should I be seeking out to prepare to enter the field?
- What skills or traits should I develop to help me succeed in your industry?
QUESTIONS ABOUT THEIR COMPANY/ORGANIZATION
Get the insider’s perspective from your advisor if you are specifically interested in their company or a similar organization.
- Can you describe your company culture?
- What is the best way to find out about opportunities to work/intern at your company?
- When you have vacancies, how are they filled? Are internal promotions common?
- Are you aware of any specific opportunities in your company that you think would be a good match for my skills and interests?
Tip: Do your homework. Research your advisor’s company. Look for a recent news article or review the “About Us” section of their website for some relevant information and build a question around it. The extra time you take to do that will show your genuine interest in the organization and the advisor.
QUESTIONS FOR A RESUME REVIEW
Advisors who are offering resume feedback may already have prepared some comments on your resume. You can maximize the opportunity by preparing questions about your own specific concerns and interests.
ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT
- How would you recommend I present my experience as a [title] in [company] as relevant for my future career in the industry?
- Do you think my resume shows that I have the skills that are in demand in the industry?
- How can I translate my experience as a student leader into meaningful experience on my resume?
- What could/should I emphasize to be a more competitive candidate?
- Are there additional experiences I should seek out now to better prepare myself for entry into the industry?
- What other changes would you recommend based on your experience as a [hiring manager or HR professional]?
Don’t let the conversation end without clearly asking for what you want, whether it’s an internship in their organization, an introduction to another contact, or a job opportunity after graduation. Clearly and politely state your intention and offer the advisor the chance to help you achieve your goal.
- I am looking for a summer internship in [industry]. Do you know of opportunities in your organization that could help me gain experience in the field?
- I am beginning to apply for positions in [field], and hope to have a job secured prior to graduation in May. Positions I’m interested in include [title or description].
- Are you aware of any opportunities that might me a good fit?
- I would really love to work for your company. If you hear of opportunities that match my skills and interests, would you be willing to let me know?
- I am looking for opportunities to build my professional network. Is there anyone in your network who you would be willing to connect me with so I can continue learning about the field and exploring potential opportunities?