Frequently Asked Questions and Guidelines for Mentees
What is a mentor? How can a mentor help me?
A mentor can be an adviser, coach and listener. A mentor can help guide you on your career path, answer questions and serve as a sounding board.
How do I find a mentor?
Members of the KU Alumni Association or Student Alumni Association are eligible to search the KU Alumni Mentor Network’s mentor directory. You will first need to log in to the mentor directory. If you have not previously created a username and password, click here to register. Find step-by-step instructions to register or log in here.
You can search for alumni mentors by name, job title, geographic area, company or field of work or industry. Use the envelope icon next to their name; this will allow you to send a blind email directly to the potential mentor’s inbox. The mentor then has the opportunity to respond with their direct contact information.
Do I need a resume?
No. Alumni mentors are here to share career-related advice and experience with you, not provide you with a job. However, alumni mentors may be aware of available job opportunities, so it’s wise to have a resume prepared. You may also ask your mentor if he/she is willing to read and critique your resume. It is improper to send an unsolicited resume to a mentor.
Does it cost anything to use the KU Alumni Mentor Network?
The alumni mentor network is a benefit available to KU Alumni Association and Student Alumni Association members. There is no additional cost for members to use the mentor directory. If you are not currently a member of the Alumni Association and are interested in using the alumni mentor network, please visit www.kualumni.org/join to see available membership options.
What kinds of things can I do with my mentor?
Mentees are encouraged to take initiative to drive the relationship and be responsible for your own career development and planning. Ask your mentor for suggestions and advice early in the relationship. Listen to your mentor, apply their ideas and let them know the results.
- Set mentoring goals together
- Discuss training and educational opportunities for career advancement
- Do a mock job interview
- Discuss how to look for a job, what it takes to get ahead and other career-related questions
- Work on your resume and receive constructive feedback
What is the program’s time commitment?
The more effort you make, the more benefits you will receive from the mentor network. While there are no rules, you are encouraged to contact your mentor at least once a month by phone, email or in-person meetings based on a schedule that is convenient to you and your mentor’s schedule.
Will my mentor help me get a job?
Mentors are not responsible for offering you a job or internship. The purpose of the alumni mentor network is to provide additional support and guidance for current KU students or alumni as they navigate their career path.
How to make a good first impression.
1. Introduce yourself. Contact your potential mentor using the blind email function in the mentor directory to send an introductory message. Be sure to identify yourself as a participant in the ‘Hawk to ‘Hawk Alumni Mentor Network.
2. Ask questions. Be prepared with open-ended questions to help you learn as much as possible about your potential mentor’s profession. Gather information about your mentor and his/her organization or area of expertise to help you prepare more intelligent and productive questions.
3. Be enthusiastic and respectful. Your mentor has volunteered his or her time to assist students and alumni. Be sure to thank your mentor, and follow up any significant meeting or conversation with a thank you note.
Use proper email etiquette.
1. Subject line: Use a proper subject line with sufficient information, yet be concise and to the point.
2. Body of the email: Keep your sentences short and concise, and leave out irrelevant details. Do not use text lingo or abbreviations. Use full words and complete sentences. Review your spelling and grammar before sending the message! It is improper to send an unsolicited resume, photo or other materials.
3. Provide complete information. Explain who you are and why you are contacting the person for advice. Include your full name, school information and expected graduation year. Also include your preferred contact information.
Make sure that your expectations for the relationship are reasonable.
Mentees often assume that the mentor will be more actively involved than the mentor is able. Unrealistic expectations can cause irritation and disappointment on both sides. Remember, your mentor is not expected to provide you with a job, internship or personal introductions to other people (unless they are comfortable doing so). Your mentor should not be expected to spend more time on the relationship than they are willing to give.
1. Respect the time and availability of your mentor. Reply to phone calls and emails promptly, and give 24 hours’ notice if you need to cancel an appointment.
2. Keep your questions appropriate. The mentor’s role is to give you a realistic view of a profession. Appropriate topics for discussion include current issues within the profession, the job market, the mentor’s approach to ethical or professional dilemmas, career goals and other career-related advice.
3. The KU Alumni Mentor Network is not intended to serve as a job placement program. Do not ask for a job. You may ask your mentor for a letter of reference if you’ve spent a significant amount of time together and you feel comfortable.
4. Telephone and email contacts can provide rewarding exchanges. Depending on respective schedules and location, mentors and students may meet in-person. Your mentor may invite you to attend meetings, lectures or other career-related events.