Seattle University Redhawk Network Mentoring Program Mentee Guide 2014

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1 Seattle University Redhawk Network Mentoring Program Mentee Guide 2014

2 A note to mentees... Participation in the Seattle University Mentoring Program provides students and alumni a way to connect, share knowledge, and discover skills that lead to both professional and personal success. For your mentors, participation in this program is about empowering you to identify your goals and supporting you as you determine the experiences, skills, and steps needed to achieve those goals. The SU alumni and community members who volunteer to participate as mentors do so because they value the education and experiences offered at SU and they want to enable you to put your knowledge and abilities to work in ways that are personally and professionally meaningful to you. Your mentors will ask you questions and you should ask questions of them as well. Their journeys through life have provided many lessons and you can learn different things from each one of them. A recent grad with 1-2 years experience in the working world might be a great resource about how to navigate the job search in today s economic and technological climate. A mid-level professional may have valuable insight into typical career paths within a certain field or have first-hand knowledge of what it takes to shift careers, either through graduate study or other means. A successful manager or executive can provide guidance and coaching about the skills and abilities they seek in employees who have moved up the ranks within their organizations. All of these people could make great mentors for different reasons. Reach out to these mentors, get to know them, and ask the questions that can help you achieve your dreams. Mentoring can take many forms long term 1-1 relationships, a series of Skype interviews or even a few in person meetings. It is up to you and your mentor(s) to decide what works best for you. Mentoring is not a path to employment with your mentor; many of them are not in a place to hire anyone. They sign up to be mentors to offer advice, to answer questions, and to support you in your professional development and they look forward to connecting with you. We hope that working with your mentor is enjoyable and fulfilling to both of you. Should you need anything or have concerns about your interactions with your mentor, please reach out to us so that we can be of assistance. Best regards, Lakesha Knatt, MSW Assistant Director, Mentoring Programs Career Services, Seattle University

3 Mentoring Expectations Mentoring is a relationship of care. Just as your mentor will ask about and care for your hopes and aspirations, so too must you care about what you bring to your mentoring relationships. Seattle U expects that you will engage with a mentor in ways that are respectful, genuine, and intentional. We hope that you will invest your time and make your mentor s investment worthwhile by following through, being accountable, and showing your appreciation for their time. Just as each mentor brings a different set of experiences, perspectives, and ideas to your interactions, there is no one right way to mentor. They look to you for guidance about your needs, questions, and goals both personally and with respect to their role as your mentor. Some are well connected to a network of professionals. Others find great meaning in asking questions that really cause you to think and refine your goals. Still others simply want to offer a helping hand in practical ways such as reviewing your resume, offering you a job shadow experience, or sharing their knowledge about graduate school applications and graduate study. Be sure to take time to consider what you hope to gain from a mentor as well as what will help you walk away feeling like you got what you hoped for from the mentoring relationship. Role of Mentoring in Career Development The purpose of mentoring is to: Provide a space to ask questions, to seek information from a knowledgeable source, and to further refine and synthesize one s career goals. Establish and develop a relationship between the mentee and mentor that leads to better career and professional decision making. Develop a network of supportive contacts that assist one another in their professional development. What to Expect from a Mentor Finding the right mentor may take some time and there is value in the process of connecting with a variety of people to make sure you are exposed to different information and perspectives. A mentor can help you set goals or develop a plan of action. A mentor can serve as a sounding board. For you to maximize your gains from a mentor, make sure you know what you are seeking. Mentors bring a wealth of information to their experience mentoring you, including their own personal, academic, and professional histories. To make the most of this opportunity, the most important thing you can do is ask questions! Mentorship Made Easy Before You Ask Your Mentor, Ask Yourself a Few Questions By exploring these and other questions, you will begin to develop an understanding of how to make the most of your time with a mentor: What are my goals? For the next 6 months? In the next 1-2 years?

4 What are my strengths? In which areas have I struggled in the past? What interests me? In what ways would I like to step outside my comfort zone? What is propelling me toward or keeping me from achieving what I want? What do I need to ask someone so that I am prepared for the next phase of my career? What types of class assignments (group work, problem sets, oral presentations, research papers) do I enjoy the most and why? How do I spend my free time and what draws me to these activities? By answering these questions for yourself first, you now have some interesting things to share with a mentor. Take your answers, your ideas, and the things you are still struggling with and share them with your mentor. These topics are great starting points for conversations about where you want to go. Making the Most of Mentorship Tips for Maximizing Your Time Together Before contacting your mentor, prepare for the conversation by making a few notes about your goals for mentoring and researching your mentor s company/organization. Be sure to close each conversation with a brief discussion of what you d like the next step to be. Set up a follow-up appointment at that time or ask for information about preferred days/times. If you do not set up a follow-up call/ meeting at that time, follow up within 2-3 days to set the next appointment or to let your mentor know that their help already has adequately prepared you for your next phase of career planning. Be reliable and prompt. Why This is Important The first impression with your mentor makes an impact. If your mentor sees that you take your mentorship seriously, your mentor will too. Mentors and mentees are busy people. It is easiest to find mutually agreeable times when you have each other s undivided attention. This will also cut down on the number of messages back and forth because you ll know to avoid each other s vacations or weeks with numerous time conflicts. Show that you value your mentor s time by following through on appointments, calls, and s. If your mentor asks you to update your resume, look at an article or website, or answer some questions on your own time, follow through. No questions asked. Your level of reliability with your mentor will

5 Follow up with a thank you. Utilize your mentor s inside knowledge to learn about their organization, industry, etc. Ask your mentor about your weaknesses or potential gap areas in relation to your field of interest. Ask your mentor about your strengths related to your field of interest. demonstrate your reliability as an employee and may impress your mentor enough to refer you on to his/her personal connections. Gratitude is important and it shows your mentor that you appreciate the time invested in your mentorship. Mentors are often busy professionals who forgo other activities to make time to mentor you. Show that you value and appreciate the time spent helping you progress in your career. Your mentor is in a unique position to give you information you might not learn through an interview or on the web. Asking questions about company culture, the work environment, career advancement or the variety of career paths available can give you valuable insight that is otherwise unavailable. Future employers will see your weaknesses on your resume and in interviews. It is important for you to know what might concern them. Ask your mentor to help you identify these and also ways to grow or to supplement your education and experience to make up for any perceived areas of weakness. Your mentor may be able to help you identify the personal qualities, experience, or educational background you possess that is most highly regarded in the jobs or fields of interest to you. Asking questions about qualities of successful employees or people who have moved along the path you hope to travel can help you understand how to discuss your strengths or develop new skills.

6 Working with a Mentor Use to communicate with your mentor when possible, this allows your mentor to reply to you at a convenient time. Be as clear up front as possible about how much time you think you ll need from a mentor (even a general idea is fine a phone call, a 2-3 meetings, or whatever you have in mind). Consider holding meetings at or nearby your mentor s place of work. This is, of course, up to the discretion of your mentor and whether his/her workplace and management are open to this possibility. At the close of each conversation/meeting, consider appropriate timing of any follow up meetings schedule a time and date for your next appointment, if applicable. Always follow up with an or note of thanks to your mentor. It is very important to acknowledge the time your mentor takes out of an already busy schedule to assist you. A thank you note shows appreciation and builds a professional relationship based on gratitude and appreciation. If you experience any problems, issues, or inappropriate behavior in working with your mentor, please contact Career Services so that we are aware of the situation and can assist you when needed. Suggested Mentoring Activities: Discuss the career paths you are considering. Review the classes you have taken and electives under consideration as they relate to your career interests. Discuss and receive feedback on your resume and cover letter. Discuss examples of resumes that are effective in your mentor s field of work. Discuss how post-graduate study (additional certifications, training courses, or graduate programs) might impact your career plans and job options. Participate in a Mock Interview, either with your mentor or with someone your mentor suggests. At the invitation of your mentor, you may wish to attend a company/organization tour, meeting, or training session, as appropriate. Discuss your mentor s company/organization mission, goals, industry, recent decisions and growth opportunities. At the suggestion of your mentor, discuss articles of relevance to your field of study with your mentor. Attend a professional networking event together or inquire about ways to become involved in professional associations. Possible Meeting Formats for Mentoring The direction that your mentoring relationship takes is up to you. Your mentor is there to be a resource to support your career growth and discernment. To make the most of this relationship, it is important to be clear about the goals you hope to accomplish with your mentor. Below you will find some suggestions for how to structure your interactions/meetings with your mentors. Based on the availability of your mentor, we

7 suggest that you develop the goals together and choose 2-5 (1 of which should be the Informational Interview) that meet your needs and that align with your mentor s availability. The items included in the description of each meeting format are suggestions choose the ones that work best for your needs and time constraints. Informational Interview (over the phone, via Skype, or in person) Get to know each other. Ask your mentor to share relevant information about his/her work history, education, interests, and goals. Discuss your goals and hopes for working with a mentor. Ask questions about your mentor s industry, company, career path, etc. Plan a time to meet again (in person or over the phone) for a follow-up and to complete at least one of the remaining topics. Always follow up with an or note of thanks to your mentor. Job/Internship Search Preparation (over the phone, via Skype, or in person) Before this meeting, send your mentor a copy of a resume/cover letter targeted to a job that interests you and a copy of the relevant job description. Ask your mentor to review your resume and cover letter with you, both in relation to your current job of interest and in light of ways it might change for a future job opportunity. Ask your mentor to share examples of resumes that he/she thinks are good examples for your field of interest and ask for explanations of why these are effective. Discuss your short term goals (securing an internship or faculty research opportunity, developing knowledge about employment opportunities, etc.) and ask for suggestions/feedback on the steps needed to attain them. Where appropriate, consider how your mentor might support your efforts in attaining these (suggesting companies that are in hiring mode, serving as a reference, offering you a mock interview, etc.). Always follow up with an or note of thanks to your mentor. Workplace Visit/Job Shadow (in person) When/if appropriate, ask your mentor if you might participate in a brief job shadow opportunity at his/her workplace. Usually 1-3 hours is standard, but occasionally mentors can accommodate full-day shadow opportunities. The length of time, timing within the day, and date of the job shadow are at the discretion of the mentor. Not all jobs and roles are appropriate to job shadowing, so be understanding if this is not a possibility. Ask your mentor about office culture, norms, & practices. Be prepared to do an Informational Interview with your mentor or another employee within your mentor s company/organization.

8 Research the company ahead of time both on their company website (make sure to look at the positions for which they are currently hiring) and through searches on local media and business/professional journals. At the conclusion of your visit, be prepared to discuss and reflect on the activities in which you participated as well as your overall experience at your mentor s workplace. Always follow up with an or note of thanks to your mentor. Mock Interview (over the phone, via Skype, or in person) Ask your mentor if he/she would be willing to simulate a real interview with you and then be willing to give you feedback. Arrange a time and location for the interview to take place. Be on time and treat the interview with equal seriousness as if it were for a job you want. Prepare for the mock interview just as you would for a real interview dress, research, and practice in much the same way as if this were the real thing. If you are seeking a technical position, ensure that your mentor is currently or has been part of technical interview processes. If not, ask if he/she would consider arranging a mock technical interview for you with someone who is. Understand that technical interviews differ from company to company, so if you can not get a mock technical interview with the company of greatest interest to you, attempt to do mock technical interviews with a few different companies so you have a sense of the variety of styles you might encounter. At the end of the interview, ask for feedback about your performance. Ask the interviewer to walk through the strengths and areas of improvement for each of the questions you were asked. Always follow up with an or note of thanks to your mentor. Long-term Goal Setting (over the phone, via Skype, or in person) Discuss your goals over next 3-5 years. Discuss how post-graduate study (additional certifications, training courses, or graduate programs) might impact your career plans and job options. Discuss whether you plan to relocate and seek suggestions on how to approach a job search in a new location. Discuss your needs for professional development, including possible career paths in a particular industry or field as well as any professional societies which might be beneficial to career growth. Always follow up with an or note of thanks to your mentor. Networking (over the phone, via Skype, or in person) Discuss ways in which networking typically takes place in your intended industry or field.

9 Discuss professional societies which might be beneficial to career growth and development of a professional network in your fields of interest. Discuss the role of LinkedIn within your intended industry or field and how your mentor sees it used for job search. Invite your mentor to join you at a networking event that interests you or select one together that might align with your professional goals and your mentor s expertise (this could be a speaker, professional association meeting, etc.). Watch how your mentor engages with other professionals and ask about any tips he/she might have for being successful at networking. Always follow up with an or note of thanks to your mentor. Providing Mutual Feedback We encourage each mentor/mentee pair to seek feedback from each other about what was useful and ways in which the mentoring experience could be improved. You can do this at the end of each meeting, after a few meetings or at another agreed upon time. Asking for Feedback from Your Mentor If you would like specific feedback from your mentor about your individual experience as a mentor/mentee pair, we suggest following up with them directly and asking some of the following questions: What actions or behaviors of mine were most helpful to you as my mentor? What suggestions or ideas to you have for me to increase my effectiveness in working with a mentor? What 2-3 things could I do over the next year to develop myself for success in this profession (or to make myself a competitive applicant for an internship, job, etc)? Providing Feedback to Your Mentor Just as it is helpful for you to receive feedback, it is important that you be willing to return the favor when asked by your mentor. Always be respectful and appreciative of your mentor and offer your feedback while reiterating your gratitude for their investment of time in you. Be prepared to offer suggestions on how he/she could be most effective as a mentor, with suggestions such as: Which topics covered in the meetings/discussions with your mentor were of most value to you? What other topics/meeting formats would have helped enhance the effectiveness of your time together? How will you use the feedback and suggestions your mentor offered to further your professional and career growth? What are the 2-3 most important pieces of advice or suggestions that you will take with you from your experiences with your mentor?

10 At the end of each year, we survey both mentors and mentees enrolled in our mentor programs to offer feedback. This data is aggregated to produce reports about best practices and to offer guidance to mentors and mentees to increase their effectiveness. Please get in touch with Career Services if we can be of assistance in optimizing your mentorship experience.

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