3 Ways to Initiate Your First Conversation With A Mentor

UVA Career Center – February 7th, 2017

How do I start my first communication with my mentor? What do I talk about? Should I conduct prior research? To what degree? Here are tips on how to make the most out of your initial conversations with your mentor.

1. Be Prepared

Get to know your mentor before your first call. Linkedin is a great first step to learning about your mentor’s previous career experiences and interests. Use your research as a springboard to brainstorm questions that align with your career goals. If your mentor doesn’t have a bio or Linkedin, do some background research on potential industries or careers that peak your interest. Doing preliminary research will not only impress your mentor, but also set a positive and enthusiastic tone from the get go.

2. Set Expectations

Express your expectations on what you hope to gain out of the relationship and how often you want to communicate with your mentor. Depending on the field, some mentors have a more time-consuming schedule than others. Setting expectations early will save you time and avoid dissapointment in the long term. Remember, relationships grow and change, and so do expectations, so don’t be thrown off if your original communication methods or plans change.

3. Share Your Experiences

Avoid bombarding your mentor with questions during your first meeting. Your mentor wants to get to know you as much as you want to get to know them.  Take time to get to know each other and don’t be afraid to share your hobbies outside of your career interests.A helpful way to get started is by creating an elevator pitch to provide your mentor with an overview of your background. From there, you can get more personal through informational conversation. Mentoring is a time for you to question, problem-solve, and explore with a trusted advisor.