Starting the conversation: what to say to your potential online mentor

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It can seem daunting to be the person that makes the first move – even when we’re talking about online mentoring.

Relax, you’ve already got at least one thing in common with the people who’ve volunteered to be mentors on Alumni Connect – UWE Bristol. But where do you go from there?

First impressions count online, and you want your potential mentor to want to help you. Here’s some tips on what to include in your opening gambit.

  1. Introduce yourself

This is about writing a short summary that will help your mentor understand what you need. Tell them what you study/have studied and the main reason you’re looking for a mentor right now. You don’t have to send your CV straight away (or at all), and you might feel more comfortable doing this after someone has replied to your first question. Short and sweet will do just fine here.

  1. Explain why you’ve picked them

Even mentors like to feel special! There’s a reason you’ve considered this mentor, so don’t be shy to let them know.

  1. Ask a question that Google can’t answer

You don’t need to go in with a question straight away, but if you do make sure you don’t ask something could find on the first page of a search engine. Alumni Connect gives you the chance to make unique connections and learn from others’ experiences. So ask your potential mentor something only they can answer.

Example:

I’ve just graduated in Marketing Communications and I’m looking for someone to help me get my first job in Social Media Marketing.

I notice that you worked in Marketing for the Olympic Park, and I’d be really interested to know more about what that involved.

What do you love most about your job?

Or

I’m in my final year studying Graphic Design. It would be brilliant if you could take a look at my website and let me know if there are any areas I could work on to help me get work experience with your company.

I think your approach is really unique and I love the project you did for Santander.

What do you think was the most important factor in getting your job?

Once the conversation has started, it’s up to you and your mentor when it stops!

With the right introduction you can grab their attention and they’ll be able to see how they can help you. Explaining who you are, what help you need and why you think they might be the right mentor to assist you creates an instant confidence.

You might have just established a valuable connection and a helpful stepping stone in your career.

Leanne Newton, Careers Consultant

 

 

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