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Finding your mentor

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Student in meeting room smiling

Life post-graduation can be a tricky thing to navigate sometimes.

Many people enter the world of work not really having a set direction or at the very least a plan of how to get from where they are to where they want to be.

That’s why having someone to teach you who has found success in your industry is so helpful.

They’ve already made the mistakes and learned the lessons. Finding a mentor can be a seriously brilliant way of helping you avoid the pitfalls and reach your goals.

So, how do you find that person?

Get the right mentor

The most important part of the whole process is actually identifying someone you want to learn from.

You’ll need to look for a person with a similar background and outlook on life as you, otherwise, you’ll just end up clashing.

Have a few candidates and meet each of them to see how you get on.

Study up

Once you’ve got an idea of the person or people you want to approach, you need to find out as much as you can about them.

Read through their personal blog, follow them on social media, talk to people that know them.

Understand what they’re good at and where they might not be able to advise you as much.

That’ll help you be realistic with what to expect.


This can be a difficult one, so be sure to approach the situation sensibly.

Don’t, for example, ask them to be your mentor at your first meeting. That puts way too much pressure on them and can lead to embarrassment for both of you.

Instead, have an informal chat in a coffee shop and keep it to less than an hour.

Definitely prepare with some questions, but feel free to just drop them and let the conversation flow if that feels right.


Once you’re done with your first meeting it’s really important you take the time to look back and decide if they’re the right fit.

Ask yourself how you got on with them. Did they talk about themselves the whole time? Did they give you any useful advice?

If you came away feeling good about yourself, you may have found someone you can learn from.

If not, it’s perfectly OK to leave it at one meeting and move on.

Follow up

If you have decided you want to take this to the next stage, it’s really important that you email them straight away.

Don’t worry about sounding overly keen. You want them to know that you are serious.

You’ll need to thank them for their time, plus it’s a good chance to mention that you would like to do it again in the future.

The mentoring process can be a really brilliant thing for your career. Just getting to hear from people who have the experience is extremely valuable.

But make sure you do it in a planned, thought-through way to get the most out of it.

Plus, once you’ve found your mentor, remember to put the time in. The relationship can be a long-lasting resource that sees you through your entire career.

Whatever you decide to do with your future, the University of Sunderland in London Careers and Employability Service is here to help.

To have a one-to-one chat with them, book a meeting through Compass.

Alternatively, email out more by following #WeAreSunLon on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.