Career Center, Alumni Association introduce online career mentorship program
Lucy Lynch | Monday, September 18, 2017
This semester, the Notre Dame Career Center partnered with the Alumni Association to launch IrishCompass, a program that enables students and alumni to make connections, exchange career advice and learn more about different job industries. This platform is similar to LinkedIn, but its users are solely Notre Dame students and alumni who opt to register for IrishCompass.
“It’s been a dream to have a system like this,” LoriAnn Edinborough, director of employer relations at the Career Center, said. “While we have myNotreDame, where students can search for alumni and we also have LinkedIn, the difference with IrishCompass is that now students can search for alumni who have raised their hand and said, ‘I want to help.’”
The program is connected through a student’s NetID and password, similar to other Notre Dame applications. When students register, they answer a series of questions, involving topics such as their majors, extracurricular activities and career interests.
After completing these questions, registration is complete. Students will be redirected to the main IrishCompass dashboard, which is divided into three categories for undergraduates: ND Network, Industry Groups and Mentorships. There is also a Job Board tab for graduate students and alumni.
The ND Network feature is a way for students to connect and talk to alumni — perhaps to plan an informational interview. In the Industry Groups page, students are able to pose questions to all alumni within a given industry. Alumni can then answer the question, or offer other information such as industry-specific resume advice, or news articles related to that industry. The Mentorship feature allows students to choose a mentor for a three-month structured program.
“The mentorship section is where students can utilize different filters to do a query for someone that they’re looking for to mentor them,” Edinborough said. “Once they find someone, they click on the ‘Let’s Connect’ button [and] personalize an email to that alum, who can accept it. Students can have up to two mentorships at one time and these mentorships, through the system, last 90 days.”
IrishCompass’ user count currently includes 3,573 alumni, 1,248 students and is growing daily. The program can help students discern future careers and allows alumni to share their expertise, Edinborough said.
“For students, anybody that’s discerning a career, the best way to learn about a job is to talk to somebody that’s in that role,” Edinborough said. “To be able to meet one-on-one, to go to a location and see what that kind of job is like, it just helps somebody really recognize whether that’s a fit for them.
“It’s also an opportunity for alumni to give back. They are looking for a way to connect and give back to the University — and so many want to and want to be able to help students.”