Where do I start?
+ Student Responsibilities
- Maintain Active Engagement. Maintain regular contact, be responsive (return calls and e-mails in a timely manner), and follow through.
- Set goals and action plan. Think about what you want to achieve through this program, and how you would achieve them.
- Make expectations clear. Prior to each conversation, think about what questions you want to ask and what you want to gain from this conversation. Make your expectations clear to the mentor.
- Receive feedback. Be open to receiving feedback that is candid and delivered in a thoughtful and constructive way.
- Participate in self-reflection. Expect thought-provoking questions designed to help you understand and articulate your motivations, accomplishments, weaknesses, etc.
- Honor commitments. If a call or conversation must be cancelled, make sure you communicate in advance of the meeting and reschedule.
Note: Mentors are not expected to offer internships or jobs.
+ Potential questions to ask your mentor
- What did you do right after college? What other avenues did you consider? Would you do it again?
- How did you decide on your career direction?
- What activities at Pomona influenced your professional decisions?
- Looking back, are there things you would have done differently at Pomona?
- What do you like most about your work? What do you like least?
- What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were still at Pomona?
What tips do you have?
+ Tips for emailing your mentor
- Introduce yourself and give your mentor a little background information like where you are from, your major, your interests, and extracurricular activities, but keep it short. You do not have to cover everything right away.
- Be sure to solicit ideas as to when and where you might meet–but defer to your mentor’s schedule.
- Use appropriate email etiquette and proper grammar and spelling. Avoid “text” spelling and abbreviations.
- Include a meaningful heading in the “subject” field.
- Describe your goals for the conversation you would have with them.
- Ask no more than two to three open-ended questions per message.
- If you are confused by the content of an email, be sure to ask for clarification because the original meaning may be very different from your interpretation.
- Think carefully when writing an email–make sure you are adding onto the topics discussed in earlier messages so it is clear that you understand what has been expressed. Read it to yourself two to three times before sending it to make sure it says what you want and in the manner you wish it to. If possible, have a friend review it for clarity.
- Thank them for their time
+ Tips for calling your mentor
- Make sure you are in a quiet place where you will not be interrupted.
- Think through what you hope to accomplish before you make the call, and take some notes to keep yourself on track.
- Be upbeat and positive. Have a smile on your face when you speak on the phone. (It is amazing how that smile comes through on the call!)
- Listen actively. Do not be distracted. Do not do other things on your computer while you are talking–it is surprisingly obvious (and annoying) when people do this.
- Do not interrupt. Use polite language. Show respect for your mentor’s time and expertise.
- Do not react with judgment. Instead summarize main points once the speaker is finished using phrases like, “what I heard you say is” or “let me summarize your points to make sure that I heard you correctly”.
- Refer to your notes to touch on everything you hoped to accomplish during the call.
- Keep the call to an hour, no more. It can certainly last less than that, but keep the upper limit at 60 minutes. For the first call, 30 minutes is normally an ideal time.
- When the call is wrapping up, express your appreciation. “It was really nice speaking with you today”; “Thank you for your time. I really enjoyed talking with you”; “I look forward to speaking with you again.”
- Be responsible-make sure to follow through on anything you committed to during the call. Do you need to forward some information (your résumé, a copy of an article you discussed)? Or, let your mentor know that you cannot follow through and why.
+ Introductory Email
My name is ___ and I’m a student member of SagePost. After reading your profile on the website, I became very interested in your story and would love to learn more about your experiences in __.
I signed up for the SagePost program because I am interested in pursuing a career in __ after graduating / attending an M.A. program in ___. I am excited to hear how your career has progressed so far and to get your perspective on what the future prospects are in this field.
I am a sophomore Economics major here at Pomona. I work in the Music Library a few hours a week, and I am a soccer player (right side defense). I am thoroughly enjoying my time at Pomona, though I am looking forward to my future opportunities as well.
At your convenience, I would like to schedule a time to chat. Please let me know what your schedule is like in the next couple of weeks and what would be best for you.