Working effectively with your mentor

Most mentors have volunteered their time to help interns like you make the most of your summer, and your career beyond. They are also looking to build great relationships – and it’s up to you to drive that relationship forward. Read on for specific ways you can make sure you get the most out of your experience with your summer mentor. Investing in them now will improve your chance of a full-time offer and finding advocates to help you build longer-run success wherever you are.

1. Outline specific objectives: make sure you define what you’re hoping to get from your mentor this summer. Do you want help meeting specific people within the company? Are you looking for feedback on your projects or access to specific resources to help as you work on it? The chance to brainstorm about potential career paths? Work through those goals with your mentor.

2. Keep your goals in mind: let your mentor know both your short- and long-term goals (of course, if you are not hoping to return to your internship company full-time, you’ll want to be tactful about that). With each check-in, you and your mentor should examine how your current activities are positioning you for those goals.

3. Give back: your mentor is doing you a favor – make sure you are giving something back in return. Ask if you can help with an internal project they are working on. If nothing else, a heartfelt thank you will be very appreciated.

4. Balance the personal and professional: there is sometimes a tendency to keep people at arm’s length, especially if your team/organization is still using a virtual environment. If you’re aiming to stay with the company longer-run, the more you let teammates get to know you as a person, the deeper your connections will be and the more advocates you will find you have longer-run. Try to find ways to share who you are. If it creates tension, that might be a great sign that you might be a better fit elsewhere.