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Top 10 Mentee Dos & Don'ts
- Set specific goals and expectations for the mentoring relationship. Before meeting with your mentor, take time to think about the key areas you want to focus the mentor's assistance to you. Prioritize your goals. Remember that you can always request additional meetings later on.
- Have purposeful conversations. Schedule time when you both will not be rushed and when you can have enough time to ask questions that matter to you and the mentor can share deeper insights. To facilitate an effective meeting, we recommend:
- Sending your bio/resume to your mentor so that he/she can learn more about your interests and background before the meeting.
- Rereview your mentor's ASK profile and LinkedIn profile (if available) to learn more about his/her interests and background. Prepare questions based on his background.
- Speak live. 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 meeting. Do not ask the mentor to write out a series of responses via email: you will miss the opportunity to get to know the mentor and build a long-term connection. Their responses may trigger new questions and having a live conversation allows you to get to know each other even more.
- Be proactive. It is your responsibility to maintain contact with your mentor and schedule future interactions. While there is no minimum nor maximum requirements for how often you should connect with your mentor, staying in touch will help you build a stronger bond. Follow up interactions could be by email, phone or in-person. You can even leverage social media to stay in touch (e.g., commenting on their LinkedIn posts, sharing events or articles, or endorsing them for a skill).
- Treat the mentor professionally. Keep all scheduled appointments with your mentor and display professional behavior and dress, as appropriate.
- Be thoughtful and sensitive about the mentor's feelings and time.
- Don't expect the mentor to make decisions for you. Learn to resolve problems and issues independently.
- Don't take advantage of the mentor. Respect the mentor's time and help.
- Don't cancel meetings/visits with your mentor at the last minute.
- Show gratitude. Send a thank-you note (by email or mailed card) after your meetings. Remember that they are volunteers and generously offer their time to you without asking for anything in return. And the best way to show your gratitude is to stay in touch and let them know when you applied an advice that you gave them.