GUEST BLOG: Alumni Mentoring Scheme – a Mentor’s view

UoY Careers Rocket illy The Alumni Mentoring Scheme is a termly programme, open to both undergraduate and postgraduate students, offering the opportunity for students to develop their career planning with the help of an experienced mentor drawn from the University’s extensive alumni network.

Guest blog by Angela Kitching, York graduate

Two things got me interested in being a mentor for York students: One was the feeling that I might be of some use to current students who wanted to think about their next steps. The second was that sinking feeling you get as a recruiter when you look at a set of applications for a job and realise that most of the applicants could have done so much better. I wanted to try and make sure fewer people entered the job market with so little sense of how to apply for a job!

I’ve since mentored a number of Yorkies from first years to final year students and my mentees have taught me a lot. Firstly, that York students stand out when they sell their skills and experience well. The mentees I have worked with have a lot to offer the world and should not think that all the doom and gloom of the press report of the jobs market will apply to them. You are a talented bunch and should have confidence!

I’ve also found that mentees often start by asking lots of practical questions that start with ‘how do I?’ when they haven’t really examined what really makes them tick. Don’t miss out the fundamental questions in a job search like, ‘What do you enjoy doing?’ or ‘What sort of companies or organisations do you admire?’ The better you know yourself, the more flexible you will be able to be in your applications and that means more jobs are open to you. It will also let you assess an organisation or a role to find out if it is right for you; believe it or not, you should be thinking, ‘Is this place right for me?’ as well as, ‘Will they give me a job?!’

I have really enjoyed meeting some current York students, the online mentoring platform encourages a professional approach and we’ve used phone calls to speed up the process. I’ve tried to keep the discussion open and let the students lead what they want to get out of our time working together. I hope I’ve been helpful but I know I’ve learnt that next time I’m recruiting, I’ll be looking out for candidates who have taken the time to do the thinking about their future careers that the York mentees have.

Find more information about becoming a part of the scheme on our web page, Get a career mentor:

Summer Term Information Sessions will be held:

  • Tuesday 13 May (week 4) 12:00 – 13:00 in A/TB/042
  • Thursday 29 May (week 6) 13:00 – 14:00 in V/123