Maximising your mentorship
If you’re anything like me, having a mentor can feel a bit overwhelming. You might not know how to navigate this new kind of professional relationship or unsure about what to do once you have one. If that’s you, then learning how to maximise your mentorship is a priority.
How do you do that? Read on to find out.
Your mentor is here to help you, but it’s up to you to tell them how they can help you. Do you need help writing a killer resume? Does networking at events feel like selling your soul? Help your mentor help you by giving them a list of goals you’d like to work towards.
You might also like to set some boundaries. Are you only contactable during business hours? Or are you always free to chat? Make sure to let your mentor know what’s appropriate for you.
Make regular check-ins
Making regular contact with your mentor is the key to success. Having conversations and learning more about each other is fundamental to your relationship.
Check-ins tend to lean less formal than informal, but it’s still important to be professional. You can get a coffee together or meet in an office. The location is up to you, but making sure you feel comfortable should be the priority.
Some questions to ask at your next check-in could be:
- Can I get some feedback on…?
- How do I prepare for…?
- How should I approach…?
- Read over 50 more questions here.
Your check-ins can also be an opportunity to see what your mentor has been doing. You can find out lots of valuable information about their career just by listening.
Your mentor will have lots of gold nuggets to share. And I can promise you it’s going to be impossible to keep it all in your head. There’s no shame in taking notes—in fact, your mentor will likely enjoy knowing that you’re listening to them!
There are two kinds of things you’re likely to write down: advice and action items. Advice is useful information, like:
“Always make eye contact when shaking hands.”
Action items are goals you need to meet before your next meeting, like:
“Draft a cover letter to go over in our next check-in.”
Once written down, advice can go into a notebook, and action items can go wherever you keep your to-do lists. This can be your planner, Google Calendar, or on a sticky note.
When I started at my current workplace, I received so much information from my mentors that I had to frantically write down what they were saying. I still have those notebooks and scraps of paper. Looking back on them can be a great reminder of how far you’ve come when the official mentorship ends.
Do your homework!
Once you’ve received some action items to complete, make sure you do them! It shows great initiative if you have some progress to show at your next check-in.
If you’re having trouble making headway, that’s okay! Your mentor is there to help you, so reach out. If you agreed earlier that it’s okay to chat between check-ins, let them know you’re struggling. Your mentor is there to give you advice and keep you on track.
If you did everything in this article, you’re well on your way to having a great mentorship. As a UTS student, you have access to over 800 industry leaders ready to mentor you, waiting at mentoring.uts.edu.au. No long-term commitments or awkward introductions.
Now that you’re a star mentee, why not try giving back and mentoring yourself?
Featured image courtesy of Pexels
Rosemary is a Computing Science (Honours) student who’s passionate about improving the learning experience for students and professionals. By day, she’s a copywriter and social media marketer in the eLearning industry. By night, you can find her drafting her next knitting pattern.