Alumni mentorship is critical to the future success of Engineering and Computer Science students, and the strength of our alumni network is one of our most important assets. The ability to connect students with alumni from across the spectrum of professional engineering and computer science fields is invaluable as they prepare for life after graduation.
What is FIRSTHAND?
Firsthand is an online platform that supports students (mentees) in achieving their unique short and long-term professional development goals by allowing them to meet with alumni mentors for one-on-one advice in areas like career development, academic success, networking, and more!
Firsthand automates the mentor matching process and is available 24/7 for access by mentees and mentors to meet virtually within Firsthand. After alumni mentors set up their availability and choose what topics they are willing to meet on, mentees can request to meet with mentors for a 30-minute session based on this availability.
Your privileged access lets you join as a mentor, a mentee, or both.
Getting started is easy!
- Activate your account by setting up a profile (easy single sign-on with your LinkedIn account).
- Get matched with Mentees and/or Mentors (depending on your preference).
- Connect with your Mentees and/or Mentors by phone or chat.
Please contact ECS Career Services at email@example.com with any questions and thank you for activating your mentor/mentee account with Firsthand!
How soon will I be contacted by a student to schedule a meeting?
Once you create your profile in Firsthand, set your availability, and select the meeting topics you are willing to engage with (resume review, career exploration, mock interview, etc.), mentees may contact you in a week, a month, a year, or not at all. It is important to set expectations that the Firsthand platform is just that—a self-selecting matching tool. By nature, it is hit or miss, but the more ECS alumni we have registered on the platform, the better chance our students will have of establishing meaningful connections.
What makes a good mentor?
A mentor’s role is to ask good questions, to listen, to challenge their mentee’s thinking, to clarify and support their short-term goals and longer-term aspirations, to play Devil’s advocate, and to encourage their development. As a mentor, you will offer opinions and ideas by referencing your personal experiences, provide honest and appropriate feedback, and help students build their networks by leaning on your own.
When connecting with students or recent grads, it is sometimes easy to forget what it was like to be at their stage of life. These young adults are new to the job market and, in many instances, have not yet had the experiences that have made you, their mentor, into the consummate professional. From time to time, you may be approached by a mentee in a way that you feel is inappropriate or not quite the way you would have done it.
Use that as a teachable moment—let them know from an employer’s perspective how they come across. The mentee is looking to you for guidance and if what they need is another reminder on how to connect for professional networking purposes, please offer your advice. If at any time you come across a mentee who is remarkable in their lack of professional decorum, please let us know so we can work with the student as well. Sometimes, it takes a village.