February 17, 2015
By: Samantha Miller, @keepcalmsam14
Being a part of such a great PRSSA chapter has given many of us the experience of being assigned a mentor. This is someone that we turn to if we have questions about the industry, our university, or pretty much whatever else we are curious about. Some, although, may not have a designated mentor, we all should have someone we look up to and turn to with our questions. While the point of this partnership is more on the professional side, that doesn’t mean that these relationships cannot develop into a more well-rounded relationship. By doing some simple steps, you will not only develop a mentor, you will also develop a friend.
- Meet with them regularly.
I know that we all lead very busy lives, but remember to make time for your mentor. Even if you can only meet briefly, grab a cup of coffee and chat for a few minutes. It’s just as effective. My mentor and I try to meet at least every couple of week, and it has allowed us to develop a better relationship. We really know what is going on in each of our lives and are also able to easily follow-up on topics we had previously discussed.
2. Find a common interest.
There’s a reason the two of you were matched, and it’s not just because you have the same career goals. You both have something in common that you may not even know about, so try to find it. Once you do, this will allow you to get to know one another on a deeper level. This interest could also allow the two of you to find activities to do outside of quick meetings. The common interest my mentor and I share is politics, and we found it almost immediately. We often send each other funny messages or photos relating to it. Those little connections make our relationship feel a little less serious, and much more fun.
3. Have a balanced meeting.
Don’t let serious topics dominant your conversations, not even the most passionate professional like talking about work all the time. By finding that common interest, you should be able to have a much more laid-back conversation. You will be able to focus much more on the content. The meetings I have with my mentor are about 40% career and industry related and 60% interest related. It creates the sense that you are having a conversation with a friend.
4. Have a two-way relationship.
This is not a relationship where you should expect to only take from your mentor. I know that I am constantly sending my mentor copies of my resume, press releases and sometimes even class essays. Something I often forget to think of is what I can do for her. Don’t be afraid to see if you could write a recommendation for your mentor, or just see if they can use your help with anything. If you can, then most certainly do it. It will mean a lot to them that you asked.