Alumni Sharing Knowledge > ASK for Advice > Tips for Mentees

6 Steps For a Strong Mentorship

  1. 1.      Set effective goals. Before meeting with your mentor, think about how you’d like a mentor to help you; think about what you want to accomplish in your meeting as well as in a long-term mentorship.

    Topics to explore:

      • College and professional transitions
        1. Learn about changing your major
        2. Discover how to find the right internship
      • Life challenges
        1. Find support as a first-generation college student
        2. Receive encouragement as an international student
      • University and career questions
        1. Understand next steps on a career pathway
        2. Gather advice around how to set career priorities
        3. Uncover information about a specific company or field

    2.      Have intentional conversations. Schedule a meeting during a time when you and your mentor will not be rushed, and prepare ahead of time. We recommend sending your bio or resume to your mentor so that he/she can learn more about your interests and background ahead of time. On the flip side, be sure to re-review your mentor's ASK profile and LinkedIn profile, if available, to learn more about their interests and experiences as well. Researching your mentor shows that you are invested in learning about him/her as a person, and not just leveraging a network connection. Utilize this information to prepare questions based on things that are relevant to your mentor’s background.

    3.      Use active listening strategies to stay engaged. It's difficult to build rapport with someone you have never met. This is why we recommend that you schedule a phone call or an in-person meeting with your mentor, especially for your first conversation. During the chat, it’s important to practice active listening techniques to stay engaged and identify new ways to develop the conversation. Don’t just wait for your turn to talk; take the time to actually listen to what your mentor has to say.

    4.      Be proactive. Keep in touch with your mentor—he/she is here to help you. While there is no minimum or maximum requirements for how often you should connect with your mentor, staying in touch by sending quick updates or an email at least once a quarter will help you build a stronger bond over time. Follow-up interactions could be by email, phone or in-person.

    5.      Practice Vincentian personalism and professionalism. The key to any successful mentorship is creating a personal connection while maintaining a professional demeanor. Be sure to keep all scheduled appointments with your mentor. If you can’t make a meeting, reach out immediately and apologize. Be thoughtful and sensitive about the mentor's feelings and time.

    6.      Show gratitude. Send a thank you email or written note after your meetings. Remember that your mentor is a volunteer and has generously offered his/her time to you without asking for anything in return. The best way to show your gratitude is to stay in touch and share when you were able to apply a piece of advice he/she gave you.​