Tips for Selecting and Working with a Mentor

Below are some tips on how to make your mentoring search and experience more meaningful: 

Think About What You Want. 

Think carefully about what you want out of the mentoring relationship, what kind of mentor you’d like and the questions you’d like answered. The more you know about your own goals, the more your mentor can help you. 

Long-Distance Relationship? 

Decide what kind of interactions you’d like with your mentor. Request a local mentor if you’d like in-person meetings. You can request a mentor in D.C, for example, if you’re thinking about moving to D.C. Remember, Zoom and Skype are great tools for long-distance relationships. 

Don’t Get Discouraged! 

Sometimes it may take several requests before you get a mentor match. If a mentor does not accept your request it is most often because the mentor realizes that they are too busy or they feel it wouldn’t be a good match. Remember, there are many mentors in our database! 

Don’t Delay. 

Once you get a mentor match, try to contact your mentor within two days of getting matched. Keep on top of things. 

Establish Expectations and Goals. 

At the beginning, take some time to establish expectations. Do you want mainly career or personal advice? How often, and when, do you want to meet? Set the expectations and stick to them. Tell the mentor what you would like to get out of the relationship. Our Goal Setting Resources and Mentoring Agreement can be very helpful in this process. 

Be Proactive! 

If your mentor hasn’t responded to you in awhile, don’t be shy about emailing or calling again. Remember, your mentor signed up for the program because of their interest in mentoring. If you don’t hear after several attempts, contact the ACDA mentoring program staff ([email protected]). 

Getting Feedback? 

Mentors are experienced and have much to teach you about being a professional. If your mentor has feedback for you, be receptive to it! 

Make It Personal. 

Be sure to get to know your mentor on a personal level. While mentors are excellent career resources, you can learn a lot from their personal stories as well. 

Keep It Consistent. 

Even if you can’t make contact with your mentor very often, try to keep it consistent (i.e., email him/her every couple of weeks). 

Let ACDA Help! 

If you ever get stuck trying to find a mentor or need help with the mentoring relationship, contact the ACDA mentoring program staff ([email protected]).