Getting the Most Out of Your Mentor Relationship

Heather Huhman, a career expert and president of Come Recommended, a career and workplace consulting firm, explains that having at least one mentor can be vital to your internship or job search process. Finding a mentor is the first step but knowing how to get the most out of your relationship with him or her can be just as challenging. Here are tips for maximizing your relationship:

  • Be clear about what kind of help you are looking for. Make sure to have a purpose to your outreach and follow up with clear, specific topics to discuss with your mentor.
  • Give your mentor something to react to. Mentors are generally far more effective giving you feedback than doing the brainstorming for you. Asking questions is perhaps the most essential element of the relationship, as your questions can spark discussion topics and bring out new ideas.
  • Do your homework. Do your own research ahead of time and be ready with questions tailored to your mentor. Don't ask your mentor to explain basic information that you could easily figure out for yourself.
  • Use your mentor's network. Your mentor may be willing to provide you with industry professionals with whom you can network. If so, reach out to them in a professional manner, as this could be an opportunity for you to build a network of your own.
  • Open yourself to new ideas. Your mentor is welcoming you to a world that is completely new and unfamiliar. In order to maximize the benefits from this relationship, you should approach the situation with a fresh and open mind, welcoming in as many new ideas as possible.
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