Mentorship helps students get jobs and alumni give back. However, students often struggle to find and foster relationships with mentors. Additionally, alumni struggle to squeeze in time for mentoring, even if they want to help students. While other platforms like LinkedIn connect students and alumni, they are not designed for formal mentoring. To combat these challenges, BYU is implementing BYU Connect, and the College of Life Sciences is one of the first colleges to use it. Here are a few ways BYU Connect compares with LinkedIn and how to get started:
All participants have something in common. BYU Connect takes a step further than LinkedIn by segmenting to only BYU-affiliated participants: alumni, students, faculty, and friends of BYU. So, users will all have an automatic connection.
Signing up will be quick and easy.Participants will be able to sign up with a student ID (friends of BYU and those without an ID can request to join, upon admin approval). Then, they can sync BYU Connect to their LinkedIn account, which automatically completes their profile. However, when users update their LinkedIn account, they must re-sync it to BYU Connect.
Find groups with similar interests.Similar to LinkedIn, BYU Connect allows users to join groups. For example, there is a group for the College of Life Sciences, but there are also groups for clubs and departments. Groups can form around anything that connects participants. Much of the activity on BYU Connect will happen within groups.
Don’t worry about personal privacy. Since students and alumni can video call, email, and share files directly on BYU Connect, their personal contact information remains private. Messages sent through BYU Connect are linked to email accounts, but all email addresses remain private.
Set Goals for your mentorship BYU Connect will guide students and mentors to set goals together for what they want to accomplish. For example, pairs might set a goal to meet, to review a résumé, or to create a mentorship agreement.
Prepare for upcoming events. BYU Connect includes a calendar to organize events like networking opportunities, career fairs, and appointments. Users can register for events (and pay any registration fees) on BYU Connect and get email reminders the day before.
Apply for or post positions on the job board. On the job board, participants can post job openings for alumni and BYU staff. Users may apply directly on BYU Connect or through an external website. Students are still encouraged to use Handshake for their job searches.
Additionally, students, alumni, and staff can take advantage of benefits specifically for them.
Once students create an account, they can specify their interests to find mentors. Students can filter by location, industry, company, degree type, and more, and can then connect with mentors and request to meet online, over the phone, or in person. BYU Connect even provides feedback on messages to mentors to help students feel comfortable reaching out. Students can also access career resources under “Student Resources.” Students can sign up for BYU Connect starting winter semester of 2019.
Since alumni have busy schedules, they can choose how involved they want to be on BYU Connect. Alumni can be formal mentors—who meet with their student (or students) regularly—or flash mentors, who respond to specific questions and might only get on BYU Connect once a month. They can also be mentored by more experienced alumni and can apply to jobs on the job board. Additionally, they can meet other alumni in their city or industry. They can also get involved by providing job shadows, mock interviews, and more. Alumni can sign up as mentors as soon as the link becomes available.
Faculty and Staff
Faculty and staff are also encouraged to create accounts on BYU Connect when the link becomes available. Signing up is as easy as connecting to a LinkedIn page. Faculty and staff can become mentors to students and can access upcoming events as well as the job board.