Undergraduate guide to connecting with faculty to advance your career (Blogpost #3)

In this blogpost, I describe the most important step: making individual contact with each of your faculty targets. First let me start out with the don’ts:

  • Do not use social media of any kind
  • Do not text
  • Do not even think about using a template

First, use determine the work email of your faculty targets. So this means, the email associated with the place that employs them. For example, in my case, you would want my George Mason University email. I leave it as an exercise on how to get that piece of information, but Google usually works well. Second, you are going to compose a long email to each of your faculty targets in which you will primarily communicate your knowledge of their scholarship/research and your ideas about what you think should be the ‘next experiment’ (Note, for non-bench type professors, this would be the next natural step of scholarly inquiry). Finally, you’ll communicate your interest in carrying out this research while presumably under their guidance as mentor/academic advisor or employer. Also, make clear that you would be overjoyed to do a Zoom informational interview with them at their convenience.

Note, I added nothing about yourself. That’s correct. At this stage, other than a cursory ‘I’m an undergrad at X University majoring in Y’, it’s not about you. Your sole goal in this communication is to convey in the clearest language possible that you are deeply familiar with their research and that you have been thinking about how to add value to their research work flow. When they circle back to you (and if you do this correctly, they surely will), that’s when you can talk about your self and your professional dreams/goals.

In the next blogpost, we’ll talk about your Zoom.