What is NOT Expected of Me as a Mentor?

  • Mentors are NOT expected to offer jobs or internships to their mentee.
  • Mentors are NOT expected to ask their mentees to perform work for their organization.
  • Mentors are NOT expected to have all the answers. The UVA Career Center is a valuable resource to assist students in their career and professional development. Please refer students to the Career Center for further help and guidance as they navigate their career paths.
  • Mentors are NOT required to meet their mentee in person. Alumni from around the world are encouraged to participate.

Actively listen to the needs of your mentee and keep communication open

Clarify and restate your understanding of what was said.  We all can recall times when the subtle tones and cues of a message were misinterpreted when speaking on the phone or in an email message.

Help establish goals

What do you and your mentee hope to accomplish?  Set up realistic timelines for project milestones.  Are the goals SMART: specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic, and timely?  For more information on goal-writing, see the S.M.A.R.T. goals worksheet.

Give constructive feedback

Mentees are in this program to learn and grow from your own experiences - the good, the bad, and perhaps the ugly too.  By assessing your feedback, the mentee gains independence and develops critial thinking.

Offer comments that are specific and honest

Address strengths and positive attributes as well as areas for improvement.  Let your mentee know if you think the relationship needs to change, due to shifts in his/her needs, pressures on your time, etc.

Stay positive and encouraging

The early stages of a mentoring relationship can be awkward and communication a challenge.  Acknowledge that a significant goal of VAM is for students to develop competencies in navigating professional networking and relationships.

Play a role in mentee's career development

Talk about your mentee's accomplishments and how this will translate into success in the real world and careers of interest.  Provide ideas and avenues for testing career interests and gaining experience. 

Offer constructive insights and ways to build upon his/her strengths

Suggest relevant readings and activities to enhance his/her personal and professional growth.

Uphold professional standards

Establish a relationship of respect and trust.  Appreciate and respect the differences between you and your mentee.  All of your exchanges with your mentee - both personal and professional - are subject to the expectations of professional confidentiality.

Learn from your mentee

Acknowledge and reflect on the stresses your mentee faces as well as the attitude that reflects his/her generational approach.  Through your role as mentor, you may gain insights relevant to hiring practices and communicate more effectively with millennials in your personal and/or professional life.