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This summer, I was granted the fantastic opportunity to be paired with a formal mentor for the duration of my 10-week internship. To my surprise, my mentor was a UW-Madison alum (the college I currently attend) and had a bunch of things in common with me right off the bat. I was so excited to dive into our mentorship experience together and felt even more prepared as a result of prior research I had conducted on the meaning of a “mentor” and how to extract the most out of our time together. So, how did it turn out? Keep reading to find out…

Having a Formal Mentor…

  • Honest Communication: My favorite part about having a mentor was that it gave me a weekly opportunity to be completely open and honest about my experience, questions I had, or regarding projects or responsibilities that I did not feel were “important” enough to take to higher leadership. My mentor was a constant source of guidance, free from judgment, and a fantastic voice of wisdom for any and all inquiries. While I had a phenomenal overall experience, she absolutely provided me with meaningful advice regarding my future, my hesitations, and how to navigate my “likes and dislikes” about the role I was placed in.
  • Lessons of Other Internal Roles and Opportunities: While I was situated in the business risk office, my mentor was a member of the consumer insights team. Coincidentally, she had the role that I had always hoped to explore and was highly interested in! Through her, I was able to gauge what it would actually be like to possess consumer insights-related responsibilities on a daily basis, what career acceleration could look like from that standpoint, and how each of the 5 consumer insights roles complements and differs from one another. It was absolutely fantastic and all the more valuable to hear candidly from someone not so far from my age and career standpoint about her own experience. As an employee, she also had fantastic insight (no pun intended) into a plethora of different roles possessed by colleagues, past mentors, managers, or other alum.
  • Connections! Another awesome component of having a mentorship program is in its ability to set you up with a list of connections stemming from colleagues, other alum, friends, or even past mentors in different roles across the entire company. Having my mentor point out roles she thought I may be interested in ended up allowing me to explore entirely different responsibilities and positions that I had not previously been aware of!

Mentorship is an essential part of business and its evolution. So, having mentors in various roles, of all ages, and all backgrounds will allow you to learn from a variety of perspectives about your self, your interests, and future opportunities. However, not all companies provide interns with direct, formal mentors. So, how do you go about finding an informal role model? Check back in Thursday to find out!

Searching for a new position? Check out our open jobs list!

Interested in my experience? Keep reading to find out about my role as an intern here!

As the summer is coming to a close and internships are winding down, we want to talk about questions you should be asking your mentor! Mentors are full of useful information, stories, and connections! Maybe you spent the whole summer avoiding asking them anything- but now is your last chance! Continue reading below for some great questions!

Stories: People love to tell stories. Stories can help you get to know someone and learn about their career! Your mentor probably has a lot of stories if they have been in their career for a long time!

  1. How did you land your current role?
  2. Did you envision this is where you would be?
  3. Can you tell me about a difficult boss? How did you handle it?
  4. What is the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned and how is it valuable?
  5. Can you tell me about a setback and how you recovered?

Situations: Talking about real-life situations that have happened is a great way to learn. You can ask your mentor specific questions regarding the situations they have been through. Use this time to ask them about a situation you are going through, so they can help you navigate through it.

  1. I’m considering a career transition. What do you see as the pros and cons?
  2. What advice can you offer on how to progress in my career?
  3. How can I bring up difficult conversations with my boss?
  4. Who are the people in this organization I need to align with so I can achieve success?
  5. How do you successfully stay connected with key people who do not work in the same office or area?

Self-Awareness: Having self-awareness can help you improve your work performance. This can provide you with some insight into how others see you in the work place. Your mentor is a great person to talk about this topic with because they will tell you what you need to hear, but also give you advice on how to improve.

  1. Where do you see my strengths and what should I focus on to improve?
  2. How do you think others perceive me?
  3. How am I viewed by leadership?
  4. How could I have communicated my ideas more clearly?
  5. What do you see as some of my blind spots?

Skill-Building: Everyone has room to improve, even mentors! You mentor has most likely spent their whole career improving and mastering their skillsets. They are the perfect person to ask for specific examples and strategies to build your skills!

  1. How do you approach risktaking?
  2. What new skills do I need to move ahead?
  3. How can I become a more assertive negotiator?
  4. How can I become better at managing people who do not report to me?
  5. How can I enhance my public speaking skills?

Mentors can provide you with so many advantages. If you have a mentor, take advantage of it! Use this list of questions (and add in your own too!) to get as much information as you can. Soak it all up and take notes! The best way to learn is to learn through others.

Searching for a new position? Check out our open jobs list!

Read our article here to learn why mentors are a must-have!

Are you on track to graduate college? College can be a very fun and exciting time, but it is also a time where you can prepare for your future. Today we are discussing some things you can do to make sure your post-grad experience is a smooth one. Continue reading below to find out things you should do while in college to prepare for post-grad!

Get Out of the Classroom: The classroom is a great place to learn extremely useful information, but you will also learn a lot when you step outside of the classroom. Join some extracurricular activities! Every campus has clubs and organizations, whether it’s an art club or a public relations club, you might find something that will be beneficial to your future career. Learning takes place even outside of the classroom. Invest your time in a part-time job on campus, volunteering, or even an internship.

Start Networking: Networking is a great way to get yourself out there. Make a LinkedIn profile and connect with your peers, friends, family, and professors. Make new connections, but also use the connections you already have. Network with friends who graduated and have been in the workforce or maybe even the career you want- chances are they have ample information that is useful. Networking can be difficult for some but start by building friendships and relationships with people.

Find a Mentor: A mentor is a very beneficial person to have on your team. A mentor can be anyone including a friend, family member, boss, or a professor! It may seem scary, but it isn’t as intimidating as you think. Just find a trusted person that you are comfortable talking with. A mentor can provide so much knowledge and help you with things like- resumes, practice interviews, networking, cover letters, etc. A mentor in the field of work that you want to go into is an extra bonus!

Work on Your Resume: Get your resume ready for the job search that follows graduation. Use college as a time to refine and perfect your resume. If you have no idea where to start, don’t be stressed out! Talk with a mentor or professor for help. Every college has a career center, so start there! They can proofread your resume, help you update it, and reformat it.

These are all great ways to get on track for the post-grad life. Post-grad can be an alarming time, utilize these tips to help you feel more at ease about the transitions! Get ahead of the game and do these things to make your college experience great and useful.

Searching for a new position? Submit your resume to any of our open jobs!

Where are you living post-grad? Read our article to find out the benefits of living at home!