The Reilly Center understands that each mentoring relationship will be different, based on the needs and availability of the pair. We encourage each mentor and mentee to set their own boundaries, but offer the following in the way of preliminary advice:
- Before you approach your mentor (via e-mail or phone, depending on their preferences), take a few moments to think about what you want out of this relationship. What kind of advice do you want or need? What questions do you have about getting your degree or post-graduation life?
- Don't be shy. Many of us are uncomfortable reaching out for help or advice, but your mentor is someone who wants to help and welcomes questions.
- Be professional. It's easy to get informal over e-mail, but resist any instinct to write to your mentor as you would your friends. Remember that your mentor is a professional and likely accostomed to professional communication. If you have questions about this, you can contact Laura Flynn at the Career Center or Jessica Baron at the Reilly Center.
- Accept feedback, including constructive criticism. Your mentor may tell you the ways in which you can improve your communication, skill sets, or career/internship search. Don't take it personally, but rather as the constructive, career-bosting advice that it's meant to be.
- Confidentiality is a must. You may discuss work situations and professional relationships with your mentor and it is your responsibility to keep all personal information between the two of you.
- Report any issues. The Reilly Center will e-mail you once or twice each year you're in the network to see how things are going. Don't hesitate to get in touch before then if you have any questions or problems.
Resources for students/recent graduates (still under construction):
Making the Most of Mentor: A Guide for Mentees
A short article hosted by UCLA that describes the mentee's responsibility in the mentoring relationship.
The Importance of Mentors
Part of an online resource hosted by Educause. Geared towards IT professionals in higher education, it is applicable to a general audience wishing to know more about the nature of the mentoring relationship and the different forms it might take.
Hosted by the National Society of Professional Engineers, this blog explores perspectives on mentoring and career development issues.