Mentors: Your career story matters to mentees

Mentors can assist mentees with career preparation by sharing their own career experience.

It can take time for mentors and mentees to learn about each other’s interests and background during the mentor-mentee relationship. Mentors have a lot to offer to mentees during their time together based on their life experience, hobbies, talents and skills. It’s important to share a new perspective with a young person. If you’re a mentor or a prospective mentor, have you thought about what you can offer for career development to youth?

Mentors can be resources for career development and be a positive influence to assist their mentees in the career path they choose. As a result of the mentor-mentee relationship, there is a chance the mentee will want to follow their mentor’s career path. What are some things mentors can share to help their mentees prepare for their career?

Michigan State University Extension suggests the following ideas on what to share with your mentee:

  • Background information for your career – what do you do for work? What is your title or role?
  • Advice on the real world of work.
  • Your opinion on the most important skills for working.
  • Steps your mentee can take now to prepare for working.
  • If you started working right out of high school or if you went to college or a trade school.
  • If you went to a trade school or college, how well trade school or college prepared you for your career.
  • Your jobs during high school (if you worked during school).
  • Your first job after high school, trade school or college.
  • The person or people who influenced you to go into the career path you chose.
  • If you received on-the-job training for any jobs you had (explain what on-the-job training is for them and provide examples in your work life).
  • The type of skills needed for your career (hard skills and soft skills).
  • What you like the most and least about your career.
  • What a typical day at work is like.
  • The classes that helped you the most in your career.
  • Your favorite memories you have of your career.

Resources like the Build Your Future curriculum are available to assist you with career activities to help your mentee prepare for their future career. Also, check the Michigan 4-H Youth Development Careers and Entrepreneurship page for additional resources to cover topics of career preparation with your mentee. Telling some things from your career story can help provide a roadmap for youth and their career goals. It can be rewarding and bring satisfaction to know how you, as a mentor, played a role to help your mentee prepare for their career.

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