UCAN: UAlbany Career Advisory Network

About 80% of jobs are found through personal relationships. So, building your professional network is key. Informational interviews with alumni can help increase your career knowledge and expand your professional network.

UCAN, the Albany Career Advisory Network, is an online database of more than 1,500 alumni professionals representing various fields. These UCAN advisors have volunteered to talk with students and other alumni to share career advice and insights. You can search for an advisor on any number of criteria, including job type, company, region, and key words. Use the network as often as you like to connect with alumni around the globe for informational interviews, advice and networking.

Using UCAN

UCAN is housed in the Alumni Online Community.  To search for an advisor, VISIT THE UCAN HOMEPAGE. You will be guided through a few easy steps to search for an advisor. If you haven't already registered/logged into the online community, you will be asked to do so before you conduct your search. When you email an advisor, in the subject line of your email write "UAlbany Career Advisory Network (UCAN) Request."

What else do you need to know?

  • An informational interview is a brief meeting with someone working in your field of interest. It is not appropriate to ask for a job. The purpose of an informational interview should be to better understand a particular position or industry, to make potential connections in the field and/or to get advice on how to conduct a job search. Interviews should last about 15-20 minutes.
  • What should you say in your email? Introduce yourself -- tell the alum your name, class year and major. Indicate that you’re interested in learning more about the alum’s position/field/company, etc., and ask if he or she would be willing to spend 15 minutes talking with you. Remember, UCAN advisors have already said they’re interested in talking to students, so chances are their answer will be “yes.” If the alum is local, you could also ask to meet in person for a cup of coffee.

  • You won't get a second chance to make a first impression. When you send an email asking an advisor to talk with you, remember this should be a professional communication. Proof it to ensure there aren't any errors. Use proper capitalization and punctuation. 

  • Come to the “interview” prepared with a list of questions. Do some research about the alum’s job and company before the interview. Don’t waste time asking questions that you can find out on the company’s website.

  • Ask if it would be okay to contact the alum again if you have further questions.

  • Follow up with an e-mail or handwritten note to thank the alum again for his/her time and insights.

  • If you're not able to find an advisor who meets your criteria, contact Melissa Samuels and she will help you with your search. 

What if I can't find my name when I try to register?
Send an email to alumni@albany.edu. In the subject line write: UCAN Student Registration. In the body of the email, include your full name, class standing, expected graduation year, home address, birth date and student ID number.

What if the alum doesn't respond to my email? 
Contact Melissa Samuels at the Alumni Association to let her know. She will follow up with the alum to ensure his or her email is up-to-date in UCAN and to facilitate your connection.

Contact Melissa Samuels at msamuels@albany.edu or (518) 442-3080.