I take mentoring seriously. My main responsibility is to help my young professional friends to learn and grow their business and communications and to explore different career options. When you’re a mentor, you take on an important role. You have to be active throughout the process. With so many people who have contributed to my career growth, I want to pay it forward and do the same for others.
Being an active mentor means going beyond telephone or Skype calls and answering occasional questions. There are ways you can get more involved if you have the time and the desire. They include:
1. Invite your mentee to “shadow” you for the day
I’ve done this several times with young professionals. I offer them the opportunity to be present for client calls, meetings, and daily business or communication activities. Of course, you have to get approval from your clients and colleagues first. But, if they are on board, then it’s the best way for your mentee to see what’s ahead. Plus, this experience is a great way to learn.
2. Review job listings and pass them along
I try to keep my eyes open and send along any good job opportunities. I will also make the direct connection (if the individual offering the position is a friend) or personal contact through my network. Reviewing industry positions is a good practice to note experience, qualifications and skills, whether or not your young professional is actively seeking a job, or perhaps just looking to see the opportunities that exist beyond what they are doing at the time.
3. Prepare them for interviews
This is an opportunity to discuss what questions might arise and how to answer them. Also review questions that are appropriate to ask the interviewer (these vary depending on the company and position), including the question about follow-up, especially if the interview concludes and the interviewer doesn’t mention the next steps in the process.
4. Suggest regional in-person networking opportunities
Going to meet ups or local and regional events is important, whether you are looking for a job or simply networking to make new professional contacts. Social networking is also a great way to make connections that can lead to informal interviews. However, there is nothing like face-to-face gathering to really get to know potential employers or other professionals who may share great information.
5. Be available to answer questions
Your mentee will have so many questions about job hunting and work as well as career growth. Mentoring is not just a once a month discussion. I try my best to answer questions regularly to help guide, provide support, and give encouragement. I realize that mentoring (just like any role) is not necessarily on a set schedule. You can work after hours too. But, just like any responsibility, I’m not on the clock and I still work to get the job done.
Mentoring is a great way to give back. Seeing young professionals move from uncertainty to confidence and make steps toward their career growth is extremely gratifying. It’s also a way to instill the importance of mentoring in them, so they pay it forward some day too.
As a mentor, what do you do to actively help young professionals with their growth? Are they prepared to do the same for someone else someday? Let us know in the comments!