Once you have located an alum using either the CHAT Network or the Alumni search tool, go to the member tab on the Caltech Alumni Association group and search for that contact.
First, go to the Caltech Alumni group and choose "See All Members".
I've found someone I am interested in speaking to. I search for him and select "Send Message". It is much better to personalize and customize approach emails to individuals you are interested in rather than using general or group approaches. This increases the likelihood that alumni will respond.
Once you have connected with an alum be sure to send them a note thanking them for their time.
A Few Tips:
1. Keep it short.
2. Make no mention of jobs even if you are job searching.
3. Mention your Caltech connection first.
4. Always keep interest general. You never know what information someone will be able to give you or what connections they can refer you to.
You Can Ask About:
What is a typical day on the job like for you?
What percent of your time do you spend each day in various activities of your work?
How free are you to do your work as you want to?
What types of problems are you likely to face in a day's time?
What are the most satisfying and the most frustrating parts of your work?
How did you get to your current position?
What are the trends and developments in the field that you see affecting careers in the future?
How did you prepare for this occupation?
What do you recommend for a person entering this industry?
What education/degrees/training/licenses are required?
What are the best places to go for additional education or training for a position like yours?
If you could start all over again in launching you career, what steps would you take?
What courses do you recommend should be taken for this occupation?
What hours do you normally work?
Is overtime common?
In what ways is travel a factor in this job?
What are pressures that you contend with?
How does this occupation affect your private life?
What other things are expected of you outside of working hours?