Best Practices for Students Connecting with Your Mentor

It is important to remember that we may be unable to find mentors that will have identical interest areas or the exact goals that you have. While we strive to match students with mentors that align similarly in professional ways, each student in Brooks College has professional strengths and passions that are highly unique to the individual, making it almost impossible to find two students or mentors exactly alike. Rather than viewing this as an opportunity for having a mentor that identifies with your interests exactly, we ask that you view this as a way to connect with someone that can offer guidance with the general processes of:

  • Job searching and best practices for interviewing
  • Problem solving skills
  • Professionalism in the workplace
  • Networking, marketing and articulating yourself
  • Finding a work vs. life balance

It is very possible for your mentor to offer support on all of these areas and more, even if your professional interests don't align perfectly.

When connecting with your mentor, please remember to maintain a level of professionalism at all times. Your mentor will be happy to support you as long as you remain cognizant of their time and abilities. For example, some mentors may be interested in communicating frequently with you, while other mentors may prefer to speak less often given their tight schedules and career responsibilities. Determining how often you will communicate, what communication methods will be used, and what both of your expectations are for the mentoring relationship are important considerations, so we suggest that you have a conversation about these things very early on in the process.

In the first email or phone call to your mentor, we suggest that you describe your educational and career goals, but also reflect on what you hope to accomplish in the mentoring relationship. At this time, reflect on what specific skills you would like to either gain or improve on by the end of the mentorship and communicate that to your mentor. Determining what types of things you would like assistance with from your mentor is important in making sure that your mentorship is as beneficial as possible. We ask that you please remember your mentor will play an advisory support role and can assist you in improving your professional skills, but they should not be viewed as a direct lead into any career path or specific job opportunities.

We are always here to support you in this experience, so if you are nervous or unsure about introducing yourself or continuing a positive relationship with your mentor, please reach out to Emily Smigiel at smigieem@gvsu.edu and she will be happy to assist you!



Page last modified April 19, 2016