Networking Tool Gives Students "UCAN" Succeed Job Advice
18, 1999 -- As University of Virginia students ponder
if they'll succeed in the working world, U.Va. officials have a
helpful piece of advice: UCAN.
can gain tips on job search strategies, career paths or internships
through UCAN, the University Career Assistance Network, which lists
approximately 15,000 alumni willing to offer their time and advice.
The database offers networking possibilities in careers and cities
across the country.
75 percent of all jobs are gained through networking," notes Cindy
D. Garver, associate director of U.Va.'s Alumni Association. "UCAN
is a networking tool that gives students information about industries,
companies and careers from people with common experiences and education
the volunteer career mentors, students can gain advice on more than
55 fields ranging from advertising and public relations to research
and development. Launched this fall by U.Va.'s Alumni Association,
UCAN has become a popular free service.
are finding it is particularly good to use UCAN prior to a job interview
with a corporate recruiter," Garver said. "Through the mentors students
can gain knowledge about what's happening in a field or sometimes,
a particular company."
UCAN is not a job placement or internship service, the mentors sometimes
offer to review r*sum*s or provide employment referrals. They enjoy
having the opportunity to offer advice and encouragement, Garver
allows alumni to give something back to the University -- at virtually
no cost to them -- and students gain information that is timely
and useful -- at no cost to them," Garver said.
can search the database in numerous ways, including class year,
U.Va. school, employer, industry or occupation. The information,
which is stored on a server, is also searchable by states and many
database allowed me to search by profession type and in a few minutes,
I was presented with a list of about 40 alumni who have agreed to
give career support," said Jonathan MORE 2 Muhlendorf, a fourth-year
student interested in a financial planning career.
what U.Va. officials say is an unusually large alumni database for
a public university, UCAN is also becoming a popular networking
tool among graduates. Graduates phone their requests for career
contacts to the Alumni Association, which sends them the information
at no charge.
help students and alumni know how to use the information they gain,
UCAN users are given tips on the best ways to contact the mentors.
Tips include a sample request for scheduling an informational interview.
tips suggest that UCAN users prepare for the interview by compiling
a list of open ended questions that will stimulate discussion. Such
questions include: "What degrees or credentials are required for
entry into this work?", "What types of prior experiences are essential?",
and "Can you suggest specific internships that might offer appropriate
can access the UCAN information in U.Va.'s Office of Career Planning
and Placement (OCPP) or at the Alumni Association.
help students become comfortable with the networking opportunities
available through UCAN, the Alumni Association and OCPP are holding
sessions where graduates and students meet to talk about a designated
career field. OCPP and the Alumni Association are also piloting
a program to give students practice in developing their networking
students can network appropriately, alumni will feel comfortable
giving them professional referrals," Garver said.
on the database was collected by sending a survey to alumni in October
1997. The Parents Program, a volunteer organization of parents who
raise money to improve the University experience of students, helped
underwrite the cost of contacting alumni career volunteers.
Cindy Garver, (804) 971-9721 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Elly Tucker
in OCPP at (804) 924-6376 or email@example.com.