SoLA Mentors Program Sample Questions for your Mentor

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Student mentees will typically meet, e-mail, and/or speak with their mentor from six to ten times over an academic year.  It makes great sense to prepare questions before you meet with your mentor so that you get the most out of your mentor-mentee relationship.  These questions are a sample of the types of questions that your mentor will expect you to ask her or him.  You are not limited to these, rather they are a starting point for the conversations that you will have with your mentor.  Additionally, you may want to consult this list of activities for mentoring pairs as you plan your time with your mentor.

 

ACADEMIC AND CO-CURRICULAR PREPARATION AT SIENA COLLEGE
How did you prepare for your career as a college student?  Looking back, would you have approached your professional development differently?  Can you offer any ‘best practices?
What was the best piece of advice you received about career exploration when you were at Siena? Who gave you this advice?
What concrete steps did you take during your undergraduate years to find out about career paths that might interest you?
What skills and abilities do you think you developed as a liberal arts student and how have these contributed to your professional development? 
Looking back were there any skills and/or abilities that you wished you developed more fully while you were at Siena?
Did you participate in campus organizations while a student and how did these opportunities contribute to your professional development?
For those of you who worked or completed an internship while a student, can you tell me about this professional experience?  How did this work contribute to your professional development?
As a student, did you see yourself in your current career?  Explain.
What do you know now regarding your professional path, that you did not know when you were an undergraduate student?
 
EDUCATION AND PREPARATION
How much formal education is needed in your field? What sort of special training or advanced degree is required?
What are the important characteristics (personal traits/qualities) for someone entering this field?
What kinds of experience do employers want?
What kinds of extracurricular activities and/or volunteer experiences would be beneficial?
Are there minors/electives/special knowledge and skills that would be helpful in this field?
What are the most important skills someone should have to find success in this occupation?
What types of part-time, full-time or summer jobs should I be doing right now that may prepare me for this career path?
What personal attributes/qualities do you think are important for career success?
What specific skills or personal qualities are important?

 

WORKING CONDITIONS
What is your job title?
Would you please describe your organization (its goal, size, structure, etc.).
What type of training did you receive when you started your first job?
What is the typical career path in this field? What are the entry-level positions?
How many hours per week are you expected to work? Do you put in additional hours?
What other things are expected of you outside of working hours?
What is a typical day on the job like for you?
What are the most satisfying and the most frustrating parts of your work?
In what ways can this job be stressful?
How much variety does this job involve? What is the pace of work?
What times of year are busiest/slowest?
In what ways is travel a factor in this job?
What are the daily pressures that you contend with?
What is the starting salary for an entry-level position?
 
INDUSTRY AND ADVANCEMENT
How has the field changed since you first started your career?
What are the trends/challenges that you see in the future of this field?
What is a major challenge you face today?
How is the job market for your field in this area of the country? Is it difficult to find an opening? Is there an area that's best for starting such a career?
How long should I expect to stay in an entry-level position?
What are the opportunities for advancement?
What would be the next step in a career path for a job like this?
 
GRADUATE SCHOOL
What made you decide to return/not return to school for a graduate degree?
How did you decide that your graduate program was the right fit for you?
What are some of the benefits and/or challenges of returning to school?
 
NETWORKING
How did you find your first job after graduation? What avenues did you explore to find job openings in your field?
What role does networking play, if any, to help break into this field?
How important is it to know someone in the industry?
What professional associations or organizations are useful to belong to in this field?
What magazines, journals, websites are important to read in this field?
 
ABOUT YOUR MENTOR
What is your background?
Describe your career path. How have you progressed to your present position?
Why did you get into this field? Did someone/something significant impact choosing this career?
Do you belong to any professional affiliations?
Do you read any field-specific journals or magazines?
What are the things you find personally rewarding in your career?
What are the things you find frustrating or disappointing?
If you were starting out again, would you plan your career the same way? What would you do differently?
If your job were suddenly eliminated what other kinds of work could you do?
 
ADVICE AND OTHER QUESTIONS
What did you learn about yourself as a person or a professional in your first professional position?
What have you learned about yourself from some of the challenges you have faced in your career?
What have you learned from the successes in your career?
What is one thing about your first job that you didn’t expect?
What was the most surprising part of your transition from university to work?
Do you have any additional information that might be helpful?
What advice do you have for someone planning to start a career in this field?
What do you see as the biggest challenges new graduates face when they enter your industry?
What are some other jobs in your field that are similar to your own?
Would you be willing to critique my résumé/cover letter? Can you offer any suggestions?
Do you have any suggestions on how I should prepare for a job interview?
 
 
Questions developed in part from: http://www.sjcny.edu/Alumni/Mentee-Questions/271/