July 23, 2021, by indybamra1
Career Mentoring: Figuring Out My Strengths and Exploring Careers
By, Sharandeep Bhogal, BSc Hons Management, Graduate (2020)
After Graduating I knew I had an interest in marketing but I wanted to learn more. That’s when I met my mentor, Prachi – a marketing analyst through the career mentoring programme. She helped me to work out what my strengths were and to explore careers that I would be good at and interested in.
Communicating with my mentor
I communicated with Prachi through WhatsApp to discuss our meeting times which was easy to do. We had regular video calls through both WhatsApp and Zoom. I found Prachi to be very supportive and a great listener who helped me to gain motivation through goal setting.
My mentor was professional by keeping the meetings formal which I think was important for me to stay on track with the objectives that we’d set in our first meeting. She was also friendly and supportive on a more personal level which is important when having a mentor, as it helped me to be more open with her.
I found the career mentoring scheme really valuable. Before I started the scheme, I had a range of previous work experience but I was not sure of what career I wanted to do. Prachi helped tease out the skills I’d gained from my work experience and helped me to use those skills to find out what career I would like to pursue. For example, I learned that I have great presentation skills, I’m creative, and prefer to work in a team as opposed to solely individually. This also helped Prachi to understand and analyse what type of career would suit me and what I would be good at!
I learned that everyone’s schedule is different, so communication is important when arranging meetings. I realised that it was better to ask my mentor first what date and time were more convenient for her, as my schedule was less busy than hers.
I think if you find a mentor within an industry that you don’t want to go into, you should still go for it! I found it an extremely insightful experience to understand what working life may look like after graduation. I also realised that my interest in marketing can be applied to any industry!
Tip: It’s worth considering that your mentor may be in a different time zone to you. For example, Prachi was based in India, so we had to take the different time zones into account when we arranged our meetings. This has definitely helped me and I’ll be aware of this if I need to arrange or make international phone calls in the workplace!
Keeping in touch with my mentor
I’m definitely going to keep in touch with Prachi! She was helpful and a really kind mentor. Prachi was really good at utilising our time and she had a lot of knowledge about my area of interest which helped me to learn the practical skills that she implements in her job.
Career mentoring has really helped me as I’m currently a Royalties intern that helps different departments at Hipgnosis Songs.
If you’re a student or recent graduate who is thinking about career mentoring, I would advise you to prepare questions before you meet your mentor as this will help you use your time efficiently. It will also save you both time so you can focus on what you want to gain from the mentor/mentee relationship.
Tip: Keep a notebook so you can keep all your notes and tips in one place – also just in case of any technical errors! If you prefer technology then maybe keep a Microsoft Word document to keep track of all of your notes so you don’t forget anything whilst you speak to your mentor!
- Don’t forget to enjoy the process and have fun – this is a useful time to learn about yourself and the opportunities that are out there for you.
- Have patience – initially, it may seem like there is a lot of information to take in, but it’s worth it! As you learn so much about yourself and learn about skills that you didn’t know you had!
- Be sure to set realistic goals – ff they’re not realistic, it will be a waste of your time. You may be tougher on yourself as a result. I think when you’re not realistic, it makes you procrastinate, and feel overwhelmed. If this is an issue for you, you can communicate this with your mentor to create plans to help you get more organised.
- Make sure you’re honest – being truthful ensures that you’re stating your strengths and weaknesses so that you can work on them with your mentor, which will help you to get to the career you’ll be great at and one that you’ll enjoy!
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