Video courtesy of Cearron Bagenda, Good Day DePaul
Adapted from The Mentor's Guide: Facilitating Effective Learning Relationships. (Zachary, 2000)
What is an ASK Mentor?
An ASK mentor is a professional who volunteers his or her time to network with DePaul students and provide advice and career insight. Connecting with a mentor gives you the chance to ask questions about a major, field or career path, and learn from other people's experiences. Mentoring is about making contacts and sharing information — not about asking for a job/internship.
Find a Career Mentor
Search for mentors online using the ASK directory.
- Go to depaul.joinhandshake.com and log in using your Campus Connect credentials.
- After login, click "Mentoring" on the left menu.
- On the Mentorships page, click "Find Mentors" on the top right menu.
Review the mentor list that matches your search criteria.
For the mentor(s) who you would like to connect with, click the "Request Mentorship" button to send a message for the mentor. If you're not sure what to write, email firstname.lastname@example.org for suggestions or for help in reviewing your request. Make sure that you customize the request and state why you picked that mentor based on their bio. (Tip: Type your customized request in MS Word so that you can spell-check and save it for later use.)
- Use the general keyword search to find mentors in your interest area.
- Other popular search filters are Skills, Major and Job Function.
- Think broadly. Even a mentor in a seemingly unrelated field can offer valuable advice and guidance in your future decisions.
- If you can't find a mentor that fits your interests, email us at email@example.com to get mentor suggestions.
When an ASK mentor accepts your request, an auto-notification will be sent to the email address in your Handshake account. Make sure that your profile points to an email addresss you check often.
Log back into Handshake and click on "Mentoring." You can communicate with the mentor through the messaging system in Handshake. (Tip: Some mentors prefer to correspond directly through email rather than Handshake. Ask for the mentor's preference and, if requested, exchange email addresses so you can continue the conversation outside of Handshake.)
For more tips on how to use Handshake as an ASK mentee, read our Top 7 Tips.
Initiate the Conversation
Before you contact a mentor, take some time to prepare. Consider the following:
||Strategies for Conversation
|Take time getting to know someone.
Learn about a person's background. Where possible, read about him/her in advance.
What, if anything, do you have in common?
What most piques your interest about this person?
|Consider your interest.
|Determine your goals.
|Share your assumptions, needs, expectations and limitations candidly.
|Discuss options and opportunities for learning.
Share your progress (past and current).
Consider what additional assistance, guidance or support might be most useful.
For more tips on effective email introductions, read our recommendations on effective introduction letters.
An informational interview is a brief meeting with someone currently working in your field of interest that offers you an insider's perspective. The purpose of an informational interview is not to get a job. It's to better understand a particular position or industry and make potential connections in that field.
If you request an informational interview with an ASK volunteer, he/she will expect something more structured and focused than an informal chat. Treat the informational interview as a business meeting. Prior to the interview, research the company or career and develop a short list of questions that you would like to have answered. For a sample list of questions, visit Quintessential Careers' Informational Interviewing Tutorial.
Follow Up and Say Thank You
Showing your appreciation is a key component to business etiquette and crucial to developing and maintaining your professional network. After meeting or exchanging emails with a mentor, send a quick email thanking your mentor for his/her time. A handwritten card adds another special touch. Sending thank-you notes is more than a professional courtesy; it's a wise business practice. Failure to do so can damage your professional image and, subsequently, your relationship with your mentor(s).
Mentor Search Help
Students and alumni have full access to the ASK directory. We encourage you to browse mentor profiles and self-select mentors in your career area. If you're not able to find someone based on the search criteria available, feel free to contact us and we will be happy to help you with the search. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (312) 362-8281.