Think About What You Want. Think carefully about what you want out of the mentorship, what kind of mentor you’d like and the questions you’d like answered. That way, you can search for mentors that better match your interests. The more you know your own goals, the more your mentor can help you. What kind of activities and opportunities would you like to have available? (i.e. Job shadowing, company tours, networking, resume building, etc.) What would you like guidance on? (i.e. Grad school, internships, undergraduate coursework, research advice, travel, etc.)
Long Distance Relationships? Think carefully about what kind of interactions you’d like with your mentor. For example, if you’re set on having in-person meetings with your mentor, try to request a mentor who is in Orange County. If you’re thinking about moving to D.C. after graduation, contacting a mentor in D.C. is an effective strategy. Skype is a great tool to connect with a long-distance mentor.
Don’t Delay. Once you get a mentor match, send your introductory email within one day of getting his/her contact info. Stay on top of things. Use the Introductory Email Template on the Resources page if you need to.
Establish Expectations. When you make contact with your mentor for the first time, take some time to establish expectations of how you’d like your relationship to be. For example, do you want more personal advice vs. more career advice/professional advice, will you meet once a week vs. once a month, will you meet in person, over the phone or Skype.
Be Proactive and Let PSUM Help! If your mentor hasn’t responded to you in a while, don’t be shy about emailing or calling him/her again. He/she may have just gotten busy or missed your email. Remember, your mentor signed up for the program because of his/her interest in mentoring. If you don’t hear after several attempts, contact email@example.com
Make It Personal. Be sure to get to know your mentor on a personal level. While mentors are excellent career resources, you can learn a lot from their personal stories as well.
Keep It Consistent. Even if you can’t make contact with your mentor very often, try to keep it consistent (i.e. email him/her every couple of weeks). If there are long periods of time between your interactions, it may be easy to let the mentorship die altogether so try not to let that happen.
Let PSUM Help! If you ever get stuck trying to get a mentor or making contact, contact PSUM for advice and help. We’re a resource for every aspect of building a relationship with your mentor. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.