Bowdoin alumni are genuinely excited to reach out and help students who express interest in their career field. Some see it as a way to give back to the College. Most alumni are eager to share their knowledge with students who thinks their job sounds interesting. Occasionally, it is also a way for them to find well-educated, motivated, talented young people they may want to hire!
The Bowdoin Career Advisory Network (BCAN) is made up of 5000+ alumni from a huge variety of professional backgrounds and geographic areas who have volunteered to be contacts for networking purposes. Bowdoin students can access their contact information through two searchable databases, BCAN Directory through Alumni Relations (formerly PolarNet) and LinkedIn.
Members of BCAN may not have jobs or internships for you, but they can help with:
+ Advice about their industry, professional position, and organization
+ Resume and cover letter feedback
+ Mock interviews prior to a real interview
+ General job search assistance
Getting Started with LinkedIn
LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com) is a social media site similar to Facebook, but it is instead used for professional networking purposes. The search and history features of this solution make it the leading resource for professional networking. After creating your first professional resume, you can begin the process of creating your professional profile on LinkedIn.
Review our Using LinkedIn page to help you get started on creating a great professional profile, and an overview of building your network. Your career advisor can also help you with questions you might have about LinkedIn or the process of creating a strong profile.
After creating a LinkedIn profile, you should first join the Bowdoin Career Advisory Network by searching for “Bowdoin Career Advisory Network” in the search field, or by clicking here to go directly to the group. The alumni in this group have volunteered to support current students in the same manner as BCAN on the Alumni Directory. Click the Join button to request access; students are generally approved within 24 hours during weekdays.
Once you’ve joined the Bowdoin Career Advisory Network group, you can search for and communicate with alumni in fields of interest to you.
Find a group member by name & send messages within the BCAN Group
- From the Bowdoin Career Advisory Network group page on LinkedIn, click on the number of members link under the header, ‘Bowdoin Career Advisory Network’ (or go directly to linkedin.com/groups/1189177/members).
- Search for a member by name by typing in the search field (next to the magnifying glass).
- To send a member a message, hover over an individual’s name and click the envelope icon.
- With a free account, you can send 15 messages to group members per month.
Find alumni by company, industry, location:
- From the LinkedIn home page, place your cursor in the search bar. You should see a pop-up; select “Search for People with Filters”.
- Check the relevant filters from the right sidebar. Be sure to select “Bowdoin College” under Schools.
- You should see search results of alumni who meet your search criteria. (e.g., law in San Francisco).
- Explore your results. Click on a person’s profile to view details. You will also be able to see if they are a member of the BCAN group in the Highlights section of the page.
- If an alumnus/a is a member of the BCAN group, you can send them a message for free through the group. See the instructions for this above, in the section Find a group member by name & send messages within the BCAN Group.
Getting Started with the BCAN Directory on the Alumni website
Access the alumni directly at alumni.bowdoin.edu
Input your log in credentials (below) in the Find A Classmate box on the right side of the screen.
For class of 2017 & 2019
Username is full email address including “@bowdoin.edu”
Password is Polar + your student ID (i.e., PolarB1234). Case sensitive!
For class of 2018 & 2020
Username is student ID number, (including B if applicable)
Password: Polar + your student ID (i.e., Polar123456 or PolarB1234). Case sensitive!
After logging in, look in the Quick Links box for the BCAN Directory link (under Career heading). If you have difficulty logging in, please contact Alumni Relations at 207-725-3266, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once in the database, you may search by any of the various criteria of interest to you. Think expansively — an environmental educator working with high school students may be listed under Alternative Education, Secondary Education, Nonprofit – Environmental, or Educational Services.
If you do not locate any results for a particular search of interest, please schedule a time to meet with a career advisor. We may be able to locate an alumna/us in the general directory that would be helpful for you.
The Networking essential guide has a great list of questions that you can ask the alumni to whom you reach out, and your Bowdoin Career Planning team is also standing by to help answer any questions you may have about corresponding with or speaking to Bowdoin alumni.
Don’t forget to thank the people you contact. You can read more about writing strong thank you notes using the How to Write a Thank You Note essential guide. When you thank them for their time and sharing their knowledge it will encourage them to continue to participate in BCAN. They will also remember how polite you were to them. A little bit of charm can go a long way.