This post originally appeared on the Sheffield Uni Students blog and was written by English Literature Student, Jessica Keen.
This semester I took part in the Careers Service eMentoring scheme, and I had such a good experience that I wanted to recommend it to everyone for next semester!
So what is the e-Mentoring scheme?
The Career Service runs the e-mentoring scheme and is used as a way of connecting an alumni graduate of the University, with a student. Ideally the alumni would be in the career sector that you might like to go into, but any would be more than helpful for advice about leaving University or what life is like after your degree.
Once you have registered for the scheme (you can follow this link to register your interest for the autumn semester- applications haven’t opened yet) and have gone to the briefing, you will be able to log into the system and have a read of the mentor’s description and see what job they do. After having a read of the descriptions, you are able to pick up to 3 people, who you order in preference, just in case someone else puts the same person as their first choice at the same time so you have a back up!
I looked for mentors that were in the sort of area that I would like to go into after my degree. Your mentor doesn’t have to have the exact job that you would like, as they can offer advice and share their experiences of a different position, which could mean you consider a career path that you hadn’t thought about before.
How long does the scheme run for, and how does it work?
Once you are matched with your mentor, the scheme lasts for about 7 weeks (dependent on when you are matched). You can decide with your mentor how you would like to communicate with them, I chose email just because it was the most convenient, but I know some people would ring or Skype their mentor at a set time every week.
The thing to remember is that it is a two-way relationship, so you shouldn’t just ask questions! Obviously you want to find out the information that you need, but expanding on their answers and linking questions in with your own experiences shows the mentor that you’re really taking their help on board- they are volunteering their time for free after all!
Why would you recommend this scheme?
I found the whole experience so helpful; not only through talking to someone with experience in the career that I would like to go to and hearing their experiences, but through them helping to make a decision based on what was best for me. They weren’t saying ‘you really should do this job’, but rather gave helpful advice on how to go about getting into the job, and seeing if it really was the right career choice. Once you have signed up to the scheme, you can then participate in other semesters, so I will definitely be signing up for another mentor come the autumn! At the end of the scheme mentors and mentees were invited to an alumni event, where they could interact and chat with different people who were a part of the scheme, as well as other alumni schemes, and I really enjoyed going along to this and meeting new people.
Have you been a part of the career mentoring scheme? If not (and even if you have been), I would highly recommend signing up for next semester!
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