Mentee Guide: Tips and Advice
So you'd like a mentor, but aren't sure what's next? Here are helpful tips and some advice on communicating with your mentor so you are professional and courteous while getting the most out of your mentorship opportunity.
How to Communicate Professionally with your Mentor
- Be mindful of busy schedules.
- Clearly communicate what you’re looking for. Mentors aren’t mind readers.
- Remember your ABCs (always be courteous).
Be Professional when Communicating with your Mentor
- When messaging them by email or text, be sure to use proper etiquette and grammar.
- Always start off with an appropriate greeting.
- Request — don’t demand — whatever you need. (“I am not able to meet up on Thursday and was wondering if you had availability for another time.”)
- Give options. (“I can meet up between 3–5 on Sunday or between 1–3 on Wednesday. If that doesn’t work, I could send you an email with my questions.”)
- Always thank your mentor at the end and sign off with your name if it’s an email.
- Remember to proofread!
10 Questions to Ask your Mentor
- “How do you spend most of your time?” (Take the time to find out more about your mentor and build a personal connection.)
- “What would you do if you were in my position?” (Tell your mentor about specific challenges and ask for their help.)
- “How can I help you?” (This question will make you stand out and foster a win/win relationship.)
- “Is this where you thought that you would end up?” (You will learn a lot about your mentor’s journey from Point A to Point B.)
- “What used to be your biggest weakness?” (A good mentor is one who is also self-aware of their shortcomings.)
- “Who else would you recommend that I connect with?” (You might want to save this question for later meetings once a relationship has been established. Sometimes a source for other mentors is your existing once.)
- “What are you most proud of?” (Give your mentor a moment to shine.)
- “What professional organizations are you associated with and in what ways?” (By knowing the best organizations and attending the right conferences, you will be able to work your way up in the industry.)
- Anything FORM. (Form is an acronym for family, occupation, recreation and motivation. Use this information to relate and form a connection with your mentor.)
- “If a specific question comes up, can I follow up with you?” (Never leave a meeting with your mentor without the promise of a follow-up meeting.)
“Hi ______ ! My name is _______ and I am a second-year journalism student at KU. I’d love to connect with you to learn more about your experience in advertising and working at ____, and get some pointers for an upcoming application. Thanks in advance for your time, and Rock Chalk!”