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.
Whilst there are many resources online about certain careers and industries, there are perhaps none as useful as having a mentor with years of experience in your desired sector who is willing to share their experiences and advice with you. Throughout this process of learning more about my desired career sector, I am meeting regularly with a mentor and documenting my takeaways from these sessions in order to help readers navigate their own mentor relationships. Having just completed the first session with my mentor, here is how the meeting went and how I plan to prepare for my next!
The First Session
The first session with my mentor was informative and left me with lots of helpful advice and tips. We began with introductions as I had not met my mentor previously, and then I asked about their career. We discussed when they knew they wanted to work in this sector, and how they eventually got to where they are now. It was fascinating to hear the twists and turns of someone’s career, and comforting to know the trajectory is not always clear! As the meeting went on, we came across points that would be beneficial to discuss further in future meetings, and we jotted these down. At the end of the meeting, we decided the next session would be discussing a specific debate within the sector, as I was keen to hear their perspective on the topic.
Preparing for the Second Session
Looking ahead to the second session, I am eager to get the most out of the conversation, therefore I want to make sure I have a detailed understanding of the topic and come to the meeting with specific questions. I have emailed my mentor asking for guidance in terms of preparatory reading and they have been incredibly helpful, sending me documents and links to informative websites. I plan to read up on the topic before the second session to deepen my understanding of the debate. Whilst hearing my mentor’s opinion on the subject is an invaluable opportunity to learn from someone who has a first-hand understanding around the discussion, it is incredibly important that I do my own research and begin to form my own opinion on the topic as this can lead to a much more constructive conversation.
Whilst my second meeting has a specific conversation topic already established, here are some other points that a second meeting with a mentor could focus on:
What is the recruitment process for this sector?
How do you get interviews in this sector, and how can you prepare now?
How can you stay motivated after rejection?
At the end of the first session, having a clear sense of what the second meeting will entail gives you more direction in how to prepare, allowing you to get the most out of the next session!
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.