How To Choose a Mentor

For a good mentor-mentee relationship there are a few things questions that should be answered first. Why do you need a mentor? What will success look like?

A mentor is a person who provides an unbiased perspective to your professional and personal goals. Mentors are usually people who tend to have experience or have specific knowledge about a certain subject matter. Mentor mentee relationships are usually unpaid. They are value-based relationships where the mentor hopes to pass on information, they have learned in life to someone who would benefit from those lessons.

For your professional and personal success, a mentor is someone who can guide you through the decisions you make. Mentors are usually ones who will motivate you, inspire you, build your confidence and help you grow professionally.

When thinking about how to choose a mentor start with an informational interview or a career conversation to assess whether you are the right fit for each other:

  • Ask about their career journey. What have their experiences been? Do you think this person will be able to guide you in your professional goals? Is this person satisfied or happy in the career they are in today? All this information will give you a better picture about your own growth. Think about how the mentor’s diverse experiences will assist you in making career decisions.
  • Consider their background. Would your mentor identify with or relate to your challenges and struggles? Would they be able to find and share accessible resources for you? Most mentor-mentee relationship fail due to the lack of understanding of the mentee’s life. Personal situations are entwined in professional life and having a mentor who understands that would help the relationship grow.
  • Think about compatibility.  When choosing a mentor, you might want to get to know the person before you decide on that person to be your mentor. Through multiple meetings you can identify areas of issues that you anticipate in the future. However, you might not want someone who is like you, being pushed out of your comfort zone is good for growth. Think about how the mentor can provide fresh and new perspectives for your career. Look for someone who you know you will listen to and trust their ideas.

BU Connects is a great resource to find a mentor. It is filled with BU students, faculty, staff, and alumni who come from diverse backgrounds and experiences and are willing to help you in your career journey.

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