Mentorship is a powerful tool in your career exploration and planning. The Career Resource Center has made the mentoring process simple through our MentorLink program.
MentorLink helps School of Management students contact alumni and friends of the school who have agreed to assist you in your career exploration and planning. Through the program, you can speak with professionals to obtain career-related information such as:
It's highly unlikely that alumni and friends of the school will know specific job openings, so do not ask them for a job or a referral to someone else in their firm. All you want is advice and information; they will serve as guides, idea generators and information providers.
You may eventually turn an information provider into a personal "résumé distributor," but this only develops over time and after repeated positive contacts. Even if this relationship develops, remember that mentors cannot get you a job. They facilitate and provide information.
Request access to the MentorLink LinkedIn group. Once accepted into the group, you can search for a mentor using such criteria as career field, industry and geographic region. You can enter multiple search criteria at one time to narrow your results effectively and efficiently.
Provide a short personalized message. Once the mentor responds via email, the mentoring process can begin. It's important to respect mentors' time constraints. In your follow-up email, be prepared to provide information about your background and career interests to aid them in their ability to help you. When you review MentorLink, you may find several individuals who meet your specific interests. You may contact as many mentors as desired, but stick to just two or three until you get the hang of it.
The most effective way to initially contact a mentor is in writing, generally via email. Your email should explain the reason for your contact and be concise (two to three paragraphs long). Use formal business writing, and make sure it is free from errors or abbreviations.
The introduction should indicate that you're a UB School of Management student and are following up from an initial contact via MentorLink. In subsequent paragraphs, describe the type of information you're seeking. Be specific; the more complete your email is, the more worthwhile your contact with the mentor will be.
If the mentor has responded to your initial expression of interest, you may include a résumé. This will allow the mentor time to gather any pertinent information you requested and to review your background and career interests.
Finally, ask if you can schedule a telephone call and offer several dates and times.
After your initial email, you may decide to contact your mentor by telephone, either to arrange an appointment or to conduct an informational interview. In either scenario, you need to be prepared.
Introduce yourself and remind them of your initial contact. If you are calling to schedule an appointment, then explain that you are calling to arrange a convenient time when the mentor has 15-20 minutes to answer some career- and industry-related questions. Be prepared during this initial telephone call with specific questions; even if the mentor does not have time immediately, he or she will want an idea of the information you're seeking. It's difficult to make a good impression if you're not prepared.
If you've previously arranged a specific time to call or meet a mentor, be sure to keep your appointment.
Introduce yourself again and remind the mentor of any specific career or industry interests you stated in your previous email or telephone call. At this point, let the conversation take its course. Do not be pushy. You should expect this to be the first of several interactions.
You should have a list of prepared questions that focus on no more than three to five topics. Ask for advice frequently and listen attentively, taking notes as you go.
Visit the link below for a detailed list of questions regarding the mentor's profession, industry, company and more.
Remember that this mentor has volunteered to help you. Someone who wants to help you in your job search is a great asset, so treat him or her as a valuable resource. Be sure to thank every mentor for his or her time.
You should close with a thank you and ask if you may keep the mentor informed about your progress. Not only will this be important for your career exploration, the mentor will also appreciate your thoughtfulness. Perhaps later they will have additional thoughts and ideas to share with you or may hear of a job opening.
Also send follow-up email thanking the mentor. See tips on writing a thank you email.