Welcome to our new series where we follow Georgia Cooper, a Modern Languages student at the University of Oxford, as she explores a one on one professional mentoring relationship.
As I’m nearing the end of my university career, I feel more and more pressure to know my exact career trajectory after graduation. However, meeting this expectation is much easier said than done. I know I need to do more research into the sector that I want to go into, but rather than reading online about random companies and organisations, I want a more personal approach to this process. One of the best ways to gain invaluable insight into your desired sector is through a professional mentorship, and this is exactly what I plan to do.
Over the course of this series, I will document my first professional mentor relationship : my expectations, my worries and what I take away from each session. Hopefully through this series I’ll offer advice based on my experience which will help guide readers in their own professional mentor relationships.
For the first session, I want to focus on learning more about my mentor’s career and how they got to where they are now. It’s so valuable to hear about your mentor’s career experiences (if they are willing to share!) and see what a trajectory of a career in your desired sector could look like. Hearing about the steps they took to get into their sector could give you helpful insight into how to successfully begin your own career, and even inspire your next steps.
Additionally, it would be helpful to share about my own goals and consider a plan for future meetings to help make the mentoring experience as beneficial as possible. For example, if I am curious about what I could be doing now at university to help my career in the future, this could be the focus of the next session. Perhaps the sector I want to go into has a rigorous interview process, and in the next sessions we discuss how to be as successful as possible in this, and different ways I can prepare.
Overall, the first meeting is about introducing yourself and building a rapport with your mentor, as well as familiarising yourself with their career and letting them know a bit about your own aims. My main advice would be to go in prepared but with an open-mind to follow where the conversation goes!
I’ll be meeting with my mentor online for now, but if you can, meeting your mentor at their workplace could be really insightful. You might have the chance to meet other colleagues and learn more about an average day in that company / organisation. Either way, going into the meeting with a curious attitude will go a long way. Be sure to thank your mentor for taking the time to meet with you!
I look forward to sharing this experience with you.
Georgia Cooper is a student at the University of Oxford studying Modern Languages. She is particularly interested in access to education, and is currently in Brazil teaching English on a year abroad. Outside of academics, she swims and rows for her university.