Being a great mentor is hard, but so is being a great mentee. Knowing how to make the most of the mentor-mentee relationship is a real skill.
Learning how to be a mentee is crucial because mentors can impart lasting wisdom and connect you to real opportunities that will advance your career. So here are 5 things you need to know to be a great mentee:
1. Know Your Mentor
Start by doing some research on your mentor’s background. Know their professional background, where they went to school, and any personal passions or hobbies they have if you can find them. LinkedIn is the ideal source for this information.
Come up with 3-5 specific questions you’d like to ask your mentor. Take time to really think about questions that will truly help you. Avoid vague questions such as “Do you like what you do?”. Keep questions open-ended with the goal of learning actionable information. A good question might be “What are the three things you think differentiates an exceptional investment banking candidate from an average or below average candidate?”.
3. Be Willing to Learn
Be open to listening to what your mentor has to say, and learn as much as possible from their experiences and insight. They won’t have answers to everything, and might have different views than you. Listen and internalize everything, and ask questions where you would like some clarification.
4. Don’t Make Asks Right Away
Take time to build the relationship. Do not ask for favours or additional introductions in your first meeting with a new mentor unless the mentor offers. Follow up periodically to give them an update on how their support was helpful to you, and how you actioned their insight. When you think another session might be helpful, send a kind email asking if they might be willing to chat with you again.
5. Golden Rule of Being a Mentee – Be Responsive and On Time
When you see an email from your mentor, respond as soon as possible. Never be late to show up or dial into a call at a pre-scheduled time.
If you can successfully do all of these things, there’s no doubt you’ll get as much value as possible out of your relationships with your mentors.
Associate Director, Capitalize for KidsJustin came to Capitalize for Kids from Accenture where he was a Management Consultant in the Financial Services practice. In 2013, he founded the Jack Summit, Canada’s student-led mental health innovation summit. Justin graduated from Queen’s University with a major in Life Sciences and minor in Economics.