Questions to ask career mentors about career development

Questions to ask career mentors about career development

Introduction: Why it is important to have a career mentor for academic career development

A career mentor is an essential part of any career development plan; they can offer wisdom, guidance, support to help you achieve goals, and lend career advice. A good mentor will be someone with experience in the field you are interested in, and who can provide insights and advice that will help you grow as a professional. Finding a mentor can be tricky, but it’s important to do whatever you can to ensure your career is on the right track. Here are some tips for finding the right person:

  • Start by asking around your network of friends and colleagues. Many professionals know people who could offer valuable guidance, whether that’s someone in a similar industry or somebody with more experience in specific areas.
  • Consider reaching out to organizations or groups that specialize in career development. These resources may have databases of qualified mentors or offer workshops specifically designed for new professionals.
  • Consider private coaching. This can be a great way to get personalized feedback on your skills and identify areas you can improve upon.
  • Look at the person’s resume for clues about how they got where they are.

How to structure your academic mentorship

Mentorship is an important part of any leader's development, but it can be challenging to create a structure that works for both mentor and mentee. Here are tips to help you structure your mentorship program:

1. Establish clear goals for the mentorship relationship.

2. Choose a mentor who has the same level of experience as you do.

3. Set regular time frames for the mentorship relationship.

4. Take feedback seriously and use it to improve your program.

5. Celebrate successes along the way!

Planning your mentoring sessions

Mentoring sessions should be structured to help you learn the skills and knowledge needed to advance in your career. Here are some tips for planning a great mentoring session:
1. Take notes during the session!
2. Write down any new ideas you have about professional development or ways to improve your personal life, and jot down where these thoughts came from so that you can use them again in future sessions.
3. Prepare questions ahead of time so that you're not scrambling at the end of the session when it's time to talk about what went well and what could be improved upon with next time's meeting.

What questions to ask in a mentoring session?

The first question to ask is for yourself: Are you prepared? If not, consider the steps from the previous sub-section.

  • What experience do you have in the field I am interested in?
  • What have you found to be the most successful strategies for developing your career?
  • What do you think are the biggest challenges faced by individuals in their careers?
  • What type of work do you enjoy doing?
  • How can I best use my skills and knowledge to achieve my goals?
  • What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in your career?
  • Who have been some of your biggest inspirations in your career journey?
  • How did you overcome them?
  • What advice would you give someone just starting out in their career?
  • What resources (e.g. books, articles, people) do you recommend for career development?

Conclusion: Why it is important to have a mentor and how they can help

In conclusion, having a mentor is important because they can help guide you in your career and give you advice. They can also help connect you with other professionals in your field and give you opportunities to grow as a person and a professional. If you don't have a mentor, I encourage you to find one. They can be a great asset to your career and personal growth.

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(c) Dominik E. Froehlich 2022