Career Mentor Guidelines: A Critical Strategy for Career Success Jessica Bauer January 24, 2014 Developing relationships can be the key between key career success and career stagnation. This was the lead-in for Dr. Cheryl Leitschuh’s recent Master’s Connection presentation at the University of St. Thomas. It is important to have mentors who know you and understand your personal objectives said Leitschuh. You also need advocates who can act as informants inside of other organizations. Advocates trust your brand and can assist you with learning about their company cultures or networking for better opportunities.More than 50 full-time first- and second-year UST MBA students are partnered with mentors across the metro area at companies including Accenture, Target Corporation, Medtronic and 3M. This partnership is an effort to create lasting relationships, designed to match students with a seasoned professional in the students’ desired discipline and industry. In regular face to face meetings mentors aid in career path examination, professional goal setting and act as a guide both educationally and professionally. Confidence, networking skills and exposure to industry settings are also all great benefits for mentees.To start a mentor partnership of your own, here are a few discussion guidelines that can be followed at each meeting:Meeting One: Career Assessment and ObjectivesEstablish list of three to five realistic and achievable goals to be met over the course of the mentorshipWork to arrange a timeline for future meetingsDiscuss current events, news, politics or other areas of mutual interestDive into the career path of your mentor, ask them to describe the most challenging moment in their career and how he or she dealt with it, or discuss what they learned on their own that they wish someone had told themProvide your professional work history along with personal passions that have led to current career decisions or outlooksMeeting Two: Networking EnrichmentAttend the mentor’s company networking events together, conduct office tours, and introduce the mentee to colleagues, discuss communication and presentation tactics for interacting with various levels of organizationsReview current trends, industry topics, and other pertinent news that could change shared industryReview your “personal pitch” with your mentor, ask for suggestionsReview professional résumé templates and send the mentee’s résumé to friends and colleagues for feedbackMeeting Three: Job Preparation and Career DevelopmentAsk your mentor for a case study, current/previous work related issue or other project and work to provide insight, suggest improvements or further analysis to assist with the projectArrange to meet with a person in a department of the mentor’s company with whom the mentor has not interacted or does not knowThe mentee can identify three companies her or she is interested in, and schedule informational interviews at these companies, and the mentor and mentee can work together to prepare a list of talking points for the interviewsAsk mentor to provide list of three to five additional professionals to network with for further developmentMeeting Four: Program Recap & Professional NetworkingMeet one-on-one to review the mentee’s original objectivesSet realistic expectations with mentor for career path, and professional trajectoryBegin developing 2-year, 5-year and 10-year career plansIt is important that a mentoring relationship be led by the mentee. Each person should be committed to the relationship, but scheduling, conversation topics and proper preparation should all be completed by the mentee. Goal setting, and a review of the mentee’s current and desired skill set will provide the framework to a prosperous and beneficial mentoring relationship.The next Master’s Connection event, “The 20 Minute Networking Meeting,” presented by Nathan Perez, will be held on Wednesday, March 26. Since networking is critical for job searching, career transitioning and general promotion of one’s brand, his focus will be on getting the most value from more concise informational meetings.