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Mentoring on Sallyportal

As an Owl Career Mentor you are a guide and resource who shares your education and professional experience to help pave the way for students to succeed at Rice and beyond.  You may participate as much or as little as you wish, whenever and wherever you wish — your time commitment is entirely up to you.  

As an Owl Career Mentor, you play several roles, including:
•    Motivator:  Expresses belief and confidence in the mentee’s abilities, and encourages the mentee to try new things.
•    Resource:  Teaches and advises the mentee on how to make professional contacts, and introduces the mentee to new people, places or ideas.
•    Supporter:  Encourages open and honest dialogue, and listens to and responds to the needs of the mentee.
•    Coach:  Helps the mentee to develop and work to achieve realistic and meaningful goals.

Tips for Being a Mentor

Listen first before sharing. After you accept a mentoring request, expect that the student will follow with a message. Understand your mentee's needs and priorities at the moment. There may be many things to discuss, but it is important to focus on what/why your mentee is asking for your help. 

Let your mentee own the next step. Give options to your mentee rather than telling them what to do. Bounce ideas back and forth with your mentee. Make sure you are only providing your thoughts and feedback instead of directly telling your mentee what to do. Enlighten the path but let them choose the next step. They are more likely to follow through.

Be willing to address teachable moments. When your mentee makes a mistake, let them know. You might be the first one to tell them that they're doing it wrong. If you're not comfortable bringing it up or need help in how to approach it, contact Michelle Passo at the Center for Career Development (CCD) at 713-348-5044 to discuss next steps.

Encourage continued conversation. Long-term mentoring often happens when the mentee feels that their continued outreach is welcomed. At the end of your conversation, invite them to stay in touch. If you know that they have a project or an interview or a decision that they are making soon, follow up and inquire what happened. During midterms and final exam time, send a quick hello and good luck and maybe a study tip to help boost their confidence. This opens many doors to follow-up mentoring conversations. It will also teach them what proper follow-up and relationship building means.

Model professional behavior. Students can learn from you what professional behavior looks like. Show them through your writing what a business correspondence looks like. Show them the importance of honoring one's commitments and appointments and limit rescheduling or running late. If you cannot honor your commitment, show them what it's like to accept responsibility and apologize gracefully.

Know your limitations. Your own experience will be enough in most situations.  However, we don't expect you to be able to answer all of your mentee’s questions. For career-related resources, you can review and refer students to the CCD’s website: Be willing to admit when you don't know the answer or your mentee needs specialized support. An example could be a mentee who confides he is so anxious about his job search he is losing sleep. Whenever needed, contact Ann McAdam Griffin at the CCD (713-348-4055) and we're happy to help. Rice offers a range of services to help students achieve academic and personal success and we can provide information to you for your mentees.

What if students ask me for a job?
Please note that while jobs and internships are possible outcomes of mentoring and networking, you are not expected to provide this service. Students may contact you to ask for an informational interview. If a student does ask you for a job, please inform them that you are not able to help them in that way. If you are willing, you may offer to tell them about working in the company or provide insight into your company's recruiting process. If you do want to open the door to recruiting at your organization, please contact Ann McAdam Griffin at the CCD (713-348-4055).

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