Top tips for your mentoring application

There are some important points to consider when writing your mentoring application form.

We strongly encourage you to read through this page before submitting your form as it will help you to see if this experience is right for you at this moment in your career journey.

Understand the meaning of mentoring and the benefits for you

Mentoring is about facilitating the relationship to learn as much as possible to benefit your personal and professional development. 

Visit our Benefits of mentoring schemes page to find out more about the meaning of mentoring and how this can help you. 

Understand what makes a successful mentoring relationship

The mentee drives the mentoring relationship, which allows them to steer this in the direction that suits them. Mentors have volunteered their time to support students and recent graduates, in addition to their current job, so it's important to utilise their time (and yours) most effectively. 

By being a mentee on this scheme, this will be a great way for you to gain skills on managing a professional relationship, managing your time and ensuring you achieve what you set out to do initially. This could be in terms of confidence, sector knowledge and insight into sourcing and being successful with work experience opportunities.

Consider what makes you an effective mentee such as your core skill set that you have developed at university and how this can be transferred to this mentoring programme.  

In order to achieve this you need to understand the different perspectives of a mentoring relationship:

Examples of characteristics of an effective mentee:

  • Honest
  • Proactive
  • Willing to learn
  • Focussed on personal development
  • Comfortable being challenged
  • Flexible and open-minded 
  • Willing to move out of their 'comfort zone'
  • Confidence to ask for advice and share concerns
  • Professionalism
  • Reflects on experience

Furthermore, to make the most of the opportunity and to build an effective mentoring relationship, it's important to consider the above and the following:

Be proactive - it will be the mentee's responsibility to arrange meetings, understand what they hope to achieve and keeping their mentor informed about how the mentoring relationship is progressing. 

Time management - communication is key so keeping on top of your emails and attending meetings on time will help to let the relationship flow. But if you are trying to work on this, let your mentor know this as early on as possible. 

Examples of characteristics of an effective mentor:

  • Supportive
  • Encouraging 
  • Motivating 
  • Empowering
  • Knowledgeable
  • Active listener
  • Good communicator
  • Offers advice
  • Challenges the mentee

It is useful to understand the mentor's perspective as it is a two way process and relationship. Your mentor wants to also gain something too. 

Below are some attributes your mentor will be aiming for:

Being supportive - they are there to offer insight into their career but you will need to determine how often the meetings are and what are the preferred communication methods.

Sharing knowledge - your mentor will be willing to share their knowledge but please remember mentors may not have all the answers. It's crucial to be prepared for all interactions, as mentors will have a lot to share but it is up to you to ask effective questions to gain these answers. 

To develop a successful mentoring partnership, the relationship needs key attributes from both the mentor and mentee:

  • Trust and respect
  • Commitment
  • Ongoing and effective communication

A successful mentoring relationship is a process of two-way learning that is ‘student/graduate-centred’ and steered by the mentee.

A mentor offers support, has relevant knowledge and challenges the mentee. A mentee takes responsibility, demonstrates good time management, prepares for meetings and keeps up the momentum, keeps relationship on track to achieve their goals, shares any concerns or expectations openly and shows enthusiasm and is proactive. Both mentor and mentee trust and respect, commitment, on-going and effective communication, two-way learning, develop skills and understanding, share ideas and feedback, problem solving and find the experience rewarding.

Identify your skills and areas of support

It is important to recognise that you might not be quite ready for a professional better until you have a better idea on what you hope to gain from your future career. This does not have to be a definitive plan! It is just an indication of the types of skills and strengths you hope to use in your career and doing this self-analysis first.

Please visit Making Career Choices for further information. 

If you do have some idea on the area, roles and opportunities you hope to pursue, then start to think about how you would define these areas of support. 

Possible areas of support from a mentor are:

  • Industry / sector knowledge - by speaking to someone working directly in the sector, you can gain real insight into the working environment, culture, roles and whether your attributes and motivations are a good fit for this area. 
  • Enhancing skills and behaviours for recruitment processes - you may need tailored support on how your skills connect with the industry and understand ways to improve to be successful with securing opportunities
  • Building professional relationships - you can always learn from someone who has more experience as it is a different perspective and may spark an interest you hadn't thought of yet!
  • Career choice and direction - there is a lot you can do with your degree and university experience, where a mentor could support with focusing this in the direction that suits you and adheres to what you want. 
  • Goal setting - having an idea on what you hope to gain from a mentor is crucial and this will be a great skill and area of support to focus on throughout the mentoring relationship. By setting goals, you have something to work towards and can reflect with your mentor if these are most appropriate for what you want. 

Ask yourself why

Throughout the mentoring journey, we will be looking for students who are committed to making the most out of this unique opportunity. We don’t expect your whole career to be mapped out, but be prepared to commit to your future through this programme. If you’re lucky enough to know where you want to be, then ensure you demonstrate how a mentor will help you get there.

One of the questions in the application form will be about why you would like to apply to this programme. From the research you do about mentoring (and from reading the above sections), this will help you to identify your reasons. Furthermore, the benefits of the scheme and the goals you hope to achieve by being mentored will help with this question. 

To find out more from past mentees visit our mentoring blog

Provide your evidence

The reasons that you give about why you would make a good mentee should be supported with an example that you may have demonstrated whilst at University or during some work experience. It is not just about your prior experience but the commitment and motivation you have maybe gained from this, that you can apply to this programme.  

Examples may be from your:

  • Degree - examples can include researching, planning, working on group projects, designing and delivering presentations. 
  • Extra-curricular activities - examples can include organising events, raising funds or persuading employers to get involved. 
  • Work Experience (paid or unpaid) - examples can include providing a high level of customer service, taking on additional responsibilities, dealing with data accurately.

Think about how you intend to use the experience of mentoring to move your career ideas forward. Mentoring is a long term process, it involves reflecting on your experiences, listening to your mentor and then putting the advice into practice. 

Be specific in what areas you are keen to have a mentor from and try to focus on job areas instead of broad sectors. 

Provide as much information as possible to make it clear what you hope to achieve and to enable us to match you to the right mentor for you. 

Make it bulletproof

Make sure you check your application thoroughly and think about the following:

  • Does it read well?
  • Have you checked your answers?
  • Have you tailored your answers to the questions?
  • Have you thought about the reader?

Check grammar and spelling to ensure you are creating the most positive impression and demonstrate that you have paid attention to detail.

Also keep a copy of your form so you have this for reference if you are successfully matched on the scheme. 


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