Mentoring can help nurture the professional and career development of University of Arizona students. Through Career Services and the UA Career Network, hundreds of UA alumni and current students have the opportunity to connect with each other, based on shared academic and occupational interests. Information on how to sign up on the UA Career Network.
The Ins and Outs of Mentoring
- A mentor is someone WHO counsels, influences and supports
- As a UA alumnus, a mentor has a Bachelor’s or Graduate degree, is currently employed, in between jobs, retired, a graduate student or in the middle of a career change.
- A mentor knows WHAT I’m going through…
- As students preparing to take those first steps down their own career paths; mentees are looking for perspectives from those who have traveled those paths before them. Think about your days as a college student; selecting your major, looking for internships and jobs, applying to grad school, interviewing and being an entry-level employee. Mentees will need a listening ear, feedback about their ideas and suggestions for next steps. What unique experiences have you had, that were positive or negative? Be a support. The network can be especially useful for students in career fields that don’t typically offer mentoring or apprenticeship opportunities.
- A mentor is there WHEN I need him/her…
- Mentors and mentees can meet as frequently as they both decide; once, once a month or once a semester. It all depends on what you both decide, need and can commit to. “Meeting” by phone or email is a convenient way to touch base. But overall, please try and be available to your mentee as you agreed that you would, so that they know they can count on you.
- A mentor will meet me WHERE I am…
- Figuratively and sometimes literally! The mentoring relationship shouldn’t be a burden on either person. In many cases, phone calls or emails are the most convenient way for both parties to share information. Individuals may also choose to meet in person. There are many public spaces throughout the UA campus where mentors can meet with their students. We also encourage mentors to invite mentees to their places of work, for Informational Interviewing opportunities (will be discussed later). Either way, meetings should be in safe, public spaces that are easily accessible to both parties.
- WHY should you be a mentor?
- You’re a great listener.
- You have career experiences to share.
- You have spare time.
- You’re a people-person.
- You care about tomorrow’s leaders.
- You love your alma mater!
- You’re interested in enhancing your own coaching & leadership skills.
HOW to be the best mentor you can be!
Here is a list of some additional resources that may be of use to you. For more information on items 1 – 4, please visit the Career Services Website at http://www.career.arizona.edu/.
- Informational Interviews are a resourceful way for students to gain insight into their prospective fields of work. As a mentor, your mentee could ask you about details specific to your job; such as job duties, necessary skills, how you obtained your job, what you like and don’t like about it, etc. The same can be done with mentors in graduate degree programs.
- In Job Shadowing situations, students actually spend a full day or days on the job with a mentor. So instead of just telling the mentee about what you do, they actually get to see it and experience it themselves. Opportunities such as this offer an invaluable experience, which helps to demystify some of the misconceptions of certain fields. One job shadowing experience can solidify a student’s plans or completely change them.
- Internship opportunities can typically be difficult for our students to come by, especially students in certain academic fields. As a mentor, we’d like for you to consider the possibility of internship experiences at your place of work. Whether they already exist or you would create them, internships provide valuable work experience for our mentees; while also providing our mentors with an extra employee. Students understand the importance of building up their resumes, so in many cases an unpaid or paid internship experience would be greatly appreciated. For Internship assistance, please contact Career Services Employer Relations at (520) 621-2037, to build an internship program at your organization.
- Providing Networking opportunities is the next best thing! If you are unable to provide your mentee with an internship experience, then perhaps you know of someone who would. In any case, the goal of networking is not always a job. We hope to equip our students with the verbal and social skills needed to be confident enough to converse with professionals in their prospective fields.
- Set ground rules. It’s important and helpful to set guidelines in the beginning, so that both parties are on the same page. How often will we meet? How will we contact one another? What are the goals of this relationship?
- The fundamentals of the mentoring relationship are openness, constructive criticism, trust and a shared respect.