The weeks following graduation will put you in serious job search mode, and so naturally, your mentor's phone number claims a spot on your 'favorite callers' list. Whether you have a few internships under your belt or you're about to start your first full-time gig, your mentor is a vital resource when you're first getting started in the real world. They could be someone that you confided in at the career services center, or who's currently killing it in your dream role. There's no doubt that you will have a million questions when you're first starting your career, and your parents and friends won't have all the answers, so we've rounded up some of the most important questions to ask your mentor.
1. What was the process like when finding your first job?
Searching for a job as a fresh college graduate is far from easy and each industry has a different process. It's helpful for you to hear from those who've been through it and who can steer you in the right direction.
2. When did you start to feel like your job became your career?
It can be tempting to focus heavily on the 'now' when you're first getting your foot in the door as opposed to thinking about what your career will look like in five years. Ultimately, your goals will expand past your first job, and learning more opportunities for your future will help to set yourself up for a long term career.
3. How long did you stay at your first job and why did you leave?
Many recent graduations think that their first job has to be the "perfect job" or ideally, the job that their years of education is finally paying off for. However, more often than not your first job will not be your dream job and even if it is, you'll soon want to be moving up the corporate ladder and maybe even changing entire industries as your interests evolve. It's valuable to talk to someone with similar interests about their first full time position and learn about how their path has lead them here.
4. Who was your mentor when you first got started?
Mentors have mentors that helped them out too when they were first making it in the real world. Learn about the advice they took and the things that stuck with them throughout their career.
5. What role did your college resources play at the beginning of your career?
If your mentor went to your alma mater, they could have valuable tips on who you should contact from your career resource center or maybe even contacts that could lead to an introduction in the professional world. Depending on the industry you're interested in entering, your college will play a different role in helping your job search so it's important to know which resources are best to tap into.
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