FAQs for Protégés (Mentees)

What is mentoring?
Mentors are advisers, initiators, and sources of knowledge. In this capacity, they discuss the mentees’ goals and the steps needed to achieve them. As initiators, they help the protégé to consider different viewpoints, encourage him or her to explore new goals or opportunities for development, or point out underused abilities. As sources of knowledge, they provide information about relevant opportunities, training programs, electronic media, conferences, and professional organizations.

Why should I be a protégé (mentee)?
Having a mentor is a great way to learn about your career path and yourself from someone with experience. A mentor can help you analyze your goals, review your resume, and introduce you to individuals or opportunities as you start your career path.  Mentors can be an objective voice in the chaos of your new career.

What is the role of a protégé (mentee)?
More than anything, your role is to listen and learn. The mentor is not necessarily a good friend but is more likely a teacher. You should be a learner, an absorber of knowledge. Being a good mentor may lead to a deeper understanding of the profession you are entering. It may also have benefits through recommendations both formal and informal.

What can I expect to gain from this mentoring relationship?
Mentees usually gain a better knowledge of themselves, increase their understanding of the field, or profession they are entering and gain an ally to help in the journey ahead.

How do I find a mentor?
Using the search tool provided (Search for Mentor or Search for Mentee), you can search the system by country, state, and keywords. Remember, keywords are very important. The more detailed your personal profile, the greater the possibility of a successful search.

What should a mentee include in the profile?
The Mentor Center search engine is built on keywords. It is important for you to include specific jobs, experiences, and accomplishments. When a mentee is searching for a mentor, those keywords will be vital to identifying a professional who has the knowledge and skills the mentee is seeking.

What should I be looking for in a mentor profile?
The Mentor Center search engine is built on keywords. It is important for you to include specific jobs, experiences, and accomplishments that you want your mentor to possess. When a mentee is searching for a mentor, those keywords will be vital to identifying a professional who has the knowledge and skills the mentee is seeking.

How do I start the conversation with a potential mentor?
The best way to start any conversation is by introducing yourself. Tell your mentor about yourself. Be succinct but provide enough detail so your mentor is learning about you.  From that introduction, you can ask the mentor to introduce him or herself. Now you each know little bit about the other and the more important conversations get build from there.

How long is should I expect the relationship to last?
An informal mentoring process like the one which the ODK Mentoring Center offers does not have a specific time limit. The relationship lasts as long as both parties are both giving and receiving something of value.  It is best to talk about the expectations of how long you each anticipate the relationship lasting. That way, you each have benchmarks to consider as the relationship develops.

What is the time commitment likely to be?
This is completely up to you, but you need to know this in advance. Usually for these kinds of mentoring programs, it is recommended that you set aside two to four hours a month. If you can only commit a few hours a month, make sure this is clear to start. We know things change, but if you commit to a few hours a month, be prepared to stay with that at least through the first four to six months. Remember, your mentor is making a time sacrifice to help you, you need to make sure you are true to the commitment.

How do I respond when a mentor does not accept my invitation?
As always, the best is response is always professional and without delay. Be honest and brief. Mentors are busy just like you. They may have many reasons why they cannot commit to you. They may have other mentees, or they may not feel they could benefit you in your career path. Thank the potential mentor for considering your request and move on without closing the door. You never know when or where you might come across this person in your professional life.

I am a graduate student; how do I fit into this mentor program?
Mentors can be undergraduate students, graduate or professional students, or fully employed professionals. Anyone can be mentored. The difference for many students or professionals is the time commitment and the expertise of the mentor. Whereas undergraduates may seek a mentor who can guide them generally as they determine a career path, graduate students and professionals most likely have a career path and are seeking a mentor in their field to help them grow and develop in the their work.

Does this cost me anything?
Only if you think of time as a cost! No there are no fees for the ODK Mentoring Center. For collegiate members, we offer this program as a way to aid in your development. For mentors, we hope that being part of the Mentoring Center deepens your affiliation and commitment to our Society.