On getting mentored

Whether you’re in your first year or already in your final year, it is not unusual to find yourself stumped when asked what you want to do after you graduate. You may be considering a few options or wondering what your options are. Either way, the Careers Service e-mentoring programme could be useful in helping you get through this process of figuring out your next steps.

The scheme is pretty straightforward. You apply, get to choose three potential mentors and are matched to one of them depending on availability. From then on, it is up to you and your mentor to decide how your mentoring relationship will go. I have taken part in the e-mentoring scheme twice – the first not so successful and the second awesome. Having identified a few reasons why my second experience was different, I have one or two tips on how to get the best out of the scheme.

It is easier to maximise the opportunity of having a mentor if you already have a career and/or industry in mind. That way, you simply choose potential mentors who are in your industry of choice so you can learn from their experiences, get help with your applications and receive industry-specific advice. It could even be that their insight makes you realise that the career you thought you wanted is not for you. Regardless of the outcome in this scenario, you are one step closer to getting the job you want or knowing for sure what you don’t want.

If you are not sure what you want to do, choosing mentors could be tricky. I don’t have a special formula for you – sorry. You just have to narrow your choices down to three mentors who have jobs that interest you most, see who you get matched to and embrace the chance of finding out the most you can ever know without actually getting the job first. For some people, the first time is the charm. Don’t get discouraged if that is not you. It is always better to know now what you don’t want than when you are three months into a graduate job. The good news is that you can apply to the e-mentoring scheme again.

There are a lot of other things you can gain from this scheme. Your mentor could introduce you to someone whose job better appeals to you. Of course, this depends on how committed you are as a mentee. Mentors are also really great sounding boards. Another perk is that your participation can go on your HEAR or Sheffield Graduate Award.

If any of this sounds like something you are interested in, the deadline for spring application is the 24th of February and here is the link.

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