A New Way to Mentor
Badger Bridge connects alumni to each other and students to foster “real time” mentoring opportunities. Badgers can reach out to learn about industry trends, gain helpful advice, or serve as professional experts in their fields. Rather than long-term commitments, alumni are ready to help each other immediately across a range of professions.
Being a Good Mentor
- Not every mentee will know exactly what they want to ask. Be prepared to tell a little about yourself, your field, and your place of business. Once you let the mentee know this information, they should be better able to formulate questions.
- Mentees may not always know the professional norms of your field. They may be too informal or formal. Let them know what you want to be called and model the language you want them to use.
- Let mentees know what you are willing to offer from the start. If you only want to respond to a single question, that’s fine. Just make sure they know your expectations. Likewise, if you are available to answer additional questions or connect them with other professionals in your network, let the mentee know about these opportunities.
- Remember that you can be a mentee, too. While a new graduate or current student might contact you with questions, you should feel comfortable reaching out with questions for alumni in your field, living in a community that interests you, or holding a position that you aspire to attain.
Being a Good Mentee
- Use the search function to find alumni who match the industries, cities, or majors you are interested in.
- Once you find someone, do a little research. Read their profiles. In many cases, a quick web search can tell you more about them and the places where they work.
- Pay attention to the types of questions alumni say they are willing to discuss on their profile.
- Formulate a specific question or category of questions. Rather than simply asking them to become a mentor, tell them what you are interested in learning. Do you want to know how they used their major in a particular field? Are you asking about opportunities in their company?
- Greet potential mentors in a professional manner. “Dear Ms. Jane Smith” sounds better than “Hi Emma.” From there, follow the alumnus’s lead. Once they switch to less formal language, you can too.
- After you receive the information you seek, remember to thank them for their help.
- Follow up. Let the alumnus know what you have done based on their advice. Ask an additional question that came to you after the first conversation. Most importantly, when you succeed at the next step in your career, let them know and thank them for their support. You are now part of their professional network.