10 mentoring topics to discuss as a Mentor (to university students)!

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Mentorship is a two way street. It provides an excellent opportunity to grow professionally and hone your leadership and soft skills as well as give back to the society. To ensure your program(as a mentor) is beneficial to the mentee, it’s best to have a structured approach. At the end of the day, you both are giving your time and energy to this and it should cater to what your mentee is looking for from the program. More often than not, students may not be sure what to focus on in the program and may need a framework or topics to choose from for the sessions. Here are our picks for topics that a university student may be most interested to know about:

1. Introduction :

Personal Bios and profiles or LinkedIn Page are not enough to know each other. It’s critical to have a connect and start with a session of general introduction. It’s a great way to break the ice and a chance to set some background for the program and your expectations from the mentee. Again, the idea is to make the best of the time We invested and the better you understand your mentee, the better you can tailor the program for them. Some of the pointers you can talk about are :

  • A brief introduction about each other
  • What is the mentee expecting from this program
  • What are you as a mentor expecting from the mentee
  • How many sessions would you like to conduct as well as duration of each session
  • What mode do you prefer the sessions to be in : face to face or virtual

2. Sharing your career journey :

Usually mentees are interested to know about your career path. At least for me, I was guided by my mentors with their two cents on how I can move forward whenever I felt stuck professionally. And, I am very fortunate for that. Likewise, share each and every eventful milestone in your career and give that much needed reassurance to the mentee that this is something they can achieve as well. If you have done it, they can do it too. Here are some of the pointers you can talk about :

  • What made you choose the field you are in
  • How did you reach the position you are at
  • Did you have any failures on the way and how did you get over them

3. Industry Specific Sharing :

Textbook knowledge would never be sufficient to understand how a particular industry operates. Your mentee would love to know all about your domain, beyond your job title. Share with them about the different key departments in your company to give them an idea about how it works. Give them a brief on key processes, latest trends, different roles and technical tools relevant in your industry. Say, if you are from supply chain and logistics, give them an example of how things move from a manufacturer to an end consumer and the different roles and departments from procurement to transportation.

4. Resumé & LinkedIn Profile :

One of the most common topics my mentees are interested in is how to land their dream job. Structure a few sessions around it. Go through their resume together. Share tips on how to tailor it according to a particular job description. Provide feedback. Check out their LinkedIn profile and provide suggestions on each section – as to how they can make it more visible to the recruiters.

5. Networking & Communication :

It’s best to use a session to share how to build their network and reach out to pioneers in the industry for career advice. Introduce them to relevant connections in your network. Also, focus on their communication skills and provide open feedback if there is any room for improvement. You can ask them to do a presentation as an assignment of the program, to give some tips on how to ace it!

6. Interview skills :

Again, one of the expected topic is tips on how to ace an interview. Give your mentee a few common interview questions to prepare and think about and check with them for any doubts. Share about the different stages in a typical interview process. Discuss about the types of interviews such as video calls, technical tests, behavioural tests, aptitude tests etc. You can have a mock interview as well. Based on experience, this session usually ends up in a long Q & A.

7. Technical Tools :

The syllabus at school does not cover the tools or softwares that are relevant in your industry. Share more about the softwares and programming languages, if any, that you work on – on day to day basis. If you can, give them a screen shared walk through. If it is a generic tool, ask them to make a mini project on it as part of the assignment for the program.

8. Office Visit :

Bring the mentees to your office! It’s the perfect way to expose them to an actual work environment. Give them that “One day in a life of” sort of feel as you show them different departments. At least in the logistics world, I have seen mentees getting thrilled with how operations/warehouses work, something they would never learn from a textbook.

9. Certifications, up-skilling & academics :

Share the importance of keeping up with the industry trends by taking certifications and up-skilling. Give a list of possible certifications they can take eventually to stay up to date. It would be great if you could also include the platforms they can learn from to up-skill. If they are undergrads, you can share with them the options they have for Masters.

10. Review outcomes :

No matter how many mentoring sessions you have had, there is always room for improvement. Have a session dedicated to feedback from each other. Ask for what can be added to or removed from your sessions to make them more beneficial for the next mentee. Also, provide your mentee open feedback about what’s good and what can be better. Share the mode they can reach you in future in case they want to keep in touch – via email, text or phone call.

If you are in Singapore and would like to mentor NTU students, check out the page here.

Have you mentored a university student? Help us enhance our list. Leave a comment if we are missing out anything. Meanwhile, happy mentoring 🙂 !

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