Please describe your background (i.e. current job, industry, etc.) and what motivated you to join StudentMentor.org?
I am a transitioning professional. After taking an early retirement package from an information technology career with a pharmaceutical company, I moved to Florida and quickly discovered that I was better at working than at not working. Since then I have spent time helping a friend with a startup company and spent several months recruiting people to work the 2010 census. I always enjoy helping people and I have mentored interns and new employees where ever I was employed. So when I found StudentMentor.org, while researching mentoring opportunities, I jumped at the chance to give something back. I had received a lot of good advice early in my own career.
What have you been helping the mentee on and how has this experience been for you?
So far Danielle and I have been getting acquainted, learning each other’s background, and finding out areas in which we could beneficially exchange knowledge and ideas. She is just starting college and has most of her career yet ahead. We have been exploring her interests and skills. And talking about how she can explore career options to use those talents.
We have also been exploring social media together and learning its value for job searching, career research, and networking.
Would you recommend getting involved with StudentMentor.org to others?
I highly recommend StudentMentor.org to anyone with some experience to share. The following covers some of the things I have learned and benefits I have already received from mentoring.
When I first learned of StudentMentor.org, I tended to think of mentoring as a mostly one-way transaction with most of the benefits being given to the protégé or mentee. Two months of mentoring has greatly changed that perspective. I have already gained valuable insights from my mentoring experience.
- Self esteem boost from helping someone who is enthusiastic, has lots of potential, and is very appreciative. This is extremely valuable if you are unemployed, sending out lots of job applications, and getting few responses.
- Improved communication skills: As a mentor you find yourself scanning the news buzz with a dual purpose, your own interest and also thinking about items that might be useful for your mentee. You next thought is what would be the best way to share the information. Maybe you have a business story that demonstrates the value of the idea or concept.
- This dual perspective resulted in the biggest breakthrough for me. While learning about LinkedIn and Twitter, I kept thinking to myself, if I was just starting college like Danielle, how would I use social media to select my education, explore different industries, advance my career and assure a job was there when I graduated?
A great solution is to find a mentor to help you through the maze. I would actively look for mentors in the industries or companies in which I was interested via social media. Knowing a few people on the inside can open up a whole new world to you. They can help you find the top blogs, the professional associations, the important business conferences, the influential people, authors, etc. for that profession. I would look for a mentor already doing what I wanted to do and find out how they got there. The problem with this vision is that most beginning college students don’t yet understand how powerful this could be. They are missing some of the key dots needed to connect their career path.