Having an alumni mentor can be a great asset for your career planning, if you know how to make the most of it. The key is to come prepared, and think of your mentor as an extra resource as you build your portfolio, interviewing skills, and professional contacts.
Set Your Goals
- Think carefully about what you want out of your mentorship.
- Communicate with your mentor regarding what you want to learn.
- The more you know your own goals, the better your mentor can help you.
- Ask your mentor if there is something you should learn from them. They may know something of which you may never have thought.
Suggested Discussion Topics
- How to prepare for your chosen career while still in college
- How to build a portfolio and experience that make you attractive to employers
- Career options for your chosen major
- Other majors to consider for your chosen career
- General/specific career information
- Job shadowing opportunities
- Interviewing tips
- Professional etiquette tips
- Networking tips
- Resume building
- Business ethics
- Resources for job searching
- Tips on what makes a good first job
- Benefits/career path/location/advancement opportunities
Set Communication Parameters
At your first meeting, set the following expectations:
- When and how will you contact each other?
- Who will initiate the meetings and interactions?
- How often will you meet/interact?
- What is your preferred method of contact?
- Are there any additional boundaries to be discussed?
This is a professional relationship. Dress appropriately, be courteous, and remember that this relationship can be extremely rewarding in the long-term.
Take ownership of your relationship. Be the one to initiate contact with your mentor and keep momentum going. Communication is key to success.