What is CHAT?

CHAT or "Career Help - Ask a Techer", is a subgroup of the Caltech Alumni Association group on LinkedIn. The CHAT Network is comprised of Caltech alumni across various industries who are interested in sharing career experiences or advice with fellow alumni and students.

How do I get access?

  1. First, you must have a LinkedIn profile (see tips on how to create a profile).
  2. Then join the Caltech Alumni Association group
  3. Then, you can join the CHAT subgroup.

For detailed instructions, click here »

How do I use CHAT?

Networking with alumni is about building relationships and connections in a purposeful, organized way.  When you contact alumni to network, it should be to seek out and gather information about careers that interest you, not to ask for a job. Focus your questions on asking for advice or assistance. Remember it is essential that you be informed, confident, and polite throughout this process.

Alumni assist students by providing:

  • Information about their company or organization
  • Information and advice about a career field or industry
  • Referrals to other professionals in their industry or organization
  • Consideration for an internship or job opportunity at their organization

Once you have joined the CHAT group, you can connect directly with other individuals in the group. In your email or message, clearly articulate who you are and what your goals are.

  • State how you are connected and describe who you are
  • Communicate your objectives
  •  Learn about their industry/career field, organization
  • Get advice on the job search process/preparing for an interview

For detailed instructions on how to connect with alumni through CHAT, click here >>

Sample LinkedIn Connect Message

Below is an example of a message you would send when you find someone with a background that matches your career objectives or that is in an industry that interests you.

Dear [fname],

I found your profile through the Caltech CHAT group. I am a junior at Caltech (BS Chemistry, 2015) and I am very interested in pursuing a career in consulting.  If it is okay with you, I would like to add to you my network on LinkedIn.

Thank you,

[insert your name]

Sample LinkedIn Approach Message

Once someone has accepted your connection request send a message to follow up and learn more about them by sending something like this:

Hello [insert name]

Thank you for connecting here on LinkedIn. It is always great to connect with other [insert field of interest]. Would you have some time to discuss what you do and recommendations for someone with a science background looking to enter consulting?  We can discuss this via email or by phone at 555-1212, whichever is more convenient for you.  Thanks again for connecting and I look forward to learning more about you and your career.

Kind regards,

[insert your name]

Should we meet in person?                              

If you connect with someone that lives locally, he or she may suggest meeting in person.  If this occurs, we recommend meeting in a public place such as a library, restaurant, coffee shop or on campus.  Avoid meeting in an isolated place.  If you initiated the meeting and you will be meeting for a meal, be prepared to pay for all or part of the bill.

Sample Questions to Ask Alumni

• What recommendations would you have for someone looking to enter your industry? What skills are required? What are the typical entry channels?
• What types of extracurricular and internship experiences would best prepare me for a career in this industry?
• I’m interested in your organization/industry. What skills and experiences would help me stand out as an applicant?
• What is the best way to go about looking for a job in your organization/industry?
• Since I am interested in this industry, what are the key companies, organization and professional associations that I should know about? Are there other alumni that you recommend I talk to?

What if I need more help?

If you need more assistance with taking the first steps in networking with alumni online, preparing your LinkedIn profile, or with your job search in general please contact the Caltech Career Development Center.  For counseling availability, please click here >>