Interviewing: The next step to finding a mentor

The offices of the Center for Service and Leadership and Career Develop­ment hope to support students who are trying to develop professionally by guiding them on the route to find a mentor. Feb 8., the Center program assistant Katrina Miyamoto and Career Development prep consultant Kather­ine Felts hosted the workshop, Finding a Mentor: Informational Interviews. This workshop aimed to give direction to those looking for someone who can provide them with motivation, support and help networking — a mentor.

Miyamoto and Felts wanted students to remember that when seeking out a mentor, their comfort is key. Anybody can be a mentor, so students should reach out to whoever they feel would be pivotal in their development.

“[When seeing out a mentor] we need to push ourselves,” Miyamoto said. “It is a fallacy to think that poten­tial mentors do not have time for us.”

The workshop recommended trying to figure out who a first choice, second choice and left field mentor would be. Miyamoto feels that students have noth­ing to lose, but possibly something to gain by reaching out to a left field men­tor — someone that may not have been initially considered, but could be a worthwhile mentor.

Informational interviews were sug­gested as a great first step in figuring out what mentor is the best fit for a student and how to begin building a relationship with a mentor. This work­shop focused on how to prepare, con­duct and follow up on an informa­tional interview.

Felts discussed that it is common to feel nervous when first making contact with a potential mentor. She suggests finding ways to break the ice, perhaps with a question that asks the mentor to describe their journey.

“‘Who did you use to be?’ can be a great question that not only allows you to learn more about your mentor but can remind you that mentors are people,” said Felts. “Everyone had to start somewhere.”

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