What will I get from this program?
You will gain a support network, beginning with your mentor, as you work together toward your career goals. This involves establishing meetings, identifying objectives, suggesting next steps, and asking for input. The more effort you put in, the more effort your mentor will put in. You should be meeting once a month, with meetings that last between 30 to 60 minutes.
If you take the right steps with your mentor, you will:
- Build effective relationships and networks
- Get guidance on making the most out of your education
- Find career explorations and development resources
- Hear different points of view and challenge yourself
- Enhance your ability to enter and grow in your internship/job
Meeting with your Mentor
Once you apply and are accepted into the program, the Vandal Mentorship Committee will assign you to a mentor. You will be required to reach out to your mentor to introduce yourself. Professional communication is a skill that you will use for the rest of your career, so it’s a great time to practice and develop it!
About Student Life:
- How did you choose U of I?
- What activities were you involved in?
- What is your favorite U of I memory?
- If you were a U of I student again, what would you do differently?
About Your Mentor:
- What is your educational background?
- How did you get where you are today?
- What jobs did you have previously?
- What was your first job out of college, and how did you get it?
- What keeps you busy outside of work?
- Do you have any hobbies?
- What was your biggest challenge moving from school into the workforce?
- Why did you decide to give your time to be a mentor in this program?
- Do you hold any leadership roles within or outside of the organization you work for?
About their Job:
- What is a typical workday for you?
- What do you like most about your work?
- What is the biggest challenge of your job?
- What best prepared you for this job?
About Your Career Field:
- What education, skills and experiences are needed to enter your profession?
- What is the typical work environment like?
- What publications or professional associates are related to your field?
About Your Career Planning
- Do you have any suggestions for internships, part-time jobs, or on-campus and community activities that would enhance my ability to obtain a position in your field?
- Would you mind reviewing my resume?
- Where do you suggest I find a job or internship posting related to my field of interest (outside of Career Services)?
- Where can I find graduate or professional schools related to my interests?
- What other suggestions do you have?
- Talk about your career goals or career ideas that you have.
- Shadow your mentor at work for a day.
- Talk about diversity, inclusion and equity concerns/initiatives within your career field of interest.
- Discuss your interests, majors, minors, hobbies, activities, etc.
- Talk about student organizations and professional organizations in which you can become involved.
- Discuss research, volunteer work, or other activities in which you can get involved.
- Review class options for upcoming semesters and discuss possible majors and minor choices.
- Discuss education abroad opportunities (Study abroad, international internships and research, embedded courses, etc.)
- Talk with your mentor about other ways to get global experiences.
- Review your resume and cover letter together. Get feedback and make edits.
- Ask your mentor to conduct a mock interview with you and share constructive feedback.
- Discuss best practices for professional workplace etiquette.
- Research internships and job opportunities.
By Phone or Video Chat
- Phone and video chat have become increasingly popular among our alumni mentors. If this is what you and your mentor use, follow these guidelines:
- Find a quiet spot with good reception.
- You may be speaking to an administrative staff member before you connect with your mentor. Introduce yourself and politely ask for your mentor.
- Keep it professional and come prepared with an agenda.
- Follow up with a thank you email.
- Email is the preferred way for most alumni mentors to keep in touch. If this is what you are your mentors use, follow these guidelines:
- Acknowledge their email within twenty-four hours and respond to their email content within two to three days.
- Notify your mentor if other obligations affect your availability.
- Use your student email address. This helps them identify you.
- Add a signature line to your email account to provide your contact information, just in case they need it in the future.
- At your first meeting, you and your mentor should complete the program agreement and goals worksheet. These are important steps in starting the mentorship on the right track. After that, you should get to know your mentor. Ask them any questions you have about their professional life, career, time at U of I or anything else you are curious about!
Issue: The mentor is not responding to emails in a timely manner
Remember, your mentor is a professional who has work and personal commitments outside of their volunteer work within this program. If your mentor does not respond to your message within one week of reaching out, try reaching out via email once more. If they still do not respond within forty-eight hours, email Kendra Chilbert at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will help you navigate this issue, and if need be, reach out to your mentor to verify their interest and availability of their time.
You are not sure what you would like to do after college.
Talk to your mentor about the co-curricular activities you have enjoyed while in high school or at University of Idaho. If appropriate, ask your mentor to introduce you to people in their network; this may lead to post-graduation ideas.
Your career goals have changed since first joining the program.
This is completely normal! If this is the case, email Kendra Chilbert, at email@example.com to discuss if being paired with a different mentor is appropriate.
Pro Tip: Check your email!
The Vandal Mentor Network sends important information about the mentor program to your student email address every month.
Find a Resource:
A conversation with your mentor may spark and interest in learning more about mental health and wellness, equity and inclusion, academic assistance and more. Explore university resources.
What if I’m feeling overwhelmed?
This program is designed to bring meaning to both students and mentors, not add stress! There may be a way to stay active while balancing a busy schedule. In fact, one of the benefits of this program is that mentors and mentees determine the communication structure. We want to work with you and make this experience valuable.