Working with a mentor is an invaluable opportunity that can be beneficial to both the mentor and the mentee. A mentor can give you advice on beginning or transitioning within your career, demonstrate expectations, and serve as a role model for appropriate workplace protocol. Check with your school—some institutions offer mentoring programs that can match you to tenured professionals who are eager to share their experiences and help newer professionals develop their career plans. The same programs can also help you match yourself to an ambitious student who may be eagerly looking to you as a mentor of their own.
In Creating Career Success: A Flexible Plan for the World of Work, Francine Fabricant, Jennifer Miller, and Debra Stark offer four key tips on how to be a good mentee. We’ve summarized them below:
- Trust. Mutual trust is important for a strong relationship. Show your mentor that you are trustworthy by completing assignments on time, asking for help when needed, and coming through on projects.
- Listen and follow through. Listen to the information that is shared by your mentor, and implement the advice and suggestions offered. Let your mentor know when his or her advice has been useful and how you use it.
- Understand the role of culture Awareness of each other’s cultural orientation can help you connect. For instance, in the U.S., mentors might expect juniors to ask questions and seek clarification. However, mentees from other cultures may have learned it is disrespectful to question someone who is older or more senior.
- Do more than thank your mentor—give back. Always thank your mentor for any assistance, including following up with details of how his or her advice or support has helped you. In a work setting, offer to help with support tasks. Share articles and materials that you think would be of interest, and remember to keep in touch throughout your career. (270)
Reference: Fabricant, Francine; Jennifer Miller; Debra Stark. 2014. Creating Career Success: A Flexible Plan for the World of Work. Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
Are you currently mentoring or holding a role as mentee? What are you tips for a mutually beneficial mentorship? Share your experiences and ideas below.