Ella Dobson

Careers Network Mentoring Scheme
Modern Languages (French and German)


Hi, I'm Ella and I'm a recent University of Birmingham graduate in BA Modern Languages and I took part in the Careers Network Mentoring Scheme in the final year of my undergraduate course. My careers mentor is Director of People for a group of schools in the UK and before that he worked abroad for global corporations and private boutique language schools before then returning to the UK and finding his calling in HR a few years after that. Initially, I joined the scheme because I wanted to talk to someone in the field of HR which is something I'm particularly interested in getting into and I also wanted to receive advice on application processes, psychometric testing, CVs, cover letters, and things like that. My mentor was really, really, helpful with all of that and I felt that we were well-matched.

Preconceptions of the mentoring scheme

Before starting the scheme, I was really worried that I wouldn't be prepared enough. I had very limited experience in HR, and I'd never done anything like this before, so I was concerned that my mentor would expect me to be further ahead than I was in my career progression. But I very quickly realised that that was not the purpose of the Scheme at all. He didn't expect me to have all the answers and he was really there to support me with applications to share his own experiences with me about his career. It wasn't about me being ahead, it was about developing ideas together and talking through career options.

Top Tip for mentorship

My top tips for making the most out of your mentoring opportunity would firstly be to be really organised. Come prepared to meetings with your mentor with a good idea about what you want to get out of each session. Maybe send them documents to read in advance of the session, giving them plenty of notice, such as your CV or cover letter for a particular opportunity.

And my second piece of advice would be to ask as many questions as you possibly can. There's no such thing as a stupid question and your mentor is someone with a lot of relevant experience in the field or fields that you're interested in and they're always very happy to answer your questions, so ask as much as you possibly can.

Advice from mentor

I learned so much from my mentor but one standout piece of advice from him was to really take the time to hone in on your values and what really makes you tick in order to work out the best career possibilities for you. This is completely essential if you're going to have a rewarding and fulfilling career and it's something that I hadn't really thought of before – breaking down what makes you tick is a good place to start with pursuing job opportunities.

Scheme recommendation

I would absolutely recommend this Scheme to other students thinking about applying because it's a really great place to start thinking about your career options in a constructive way in a really relaxed, informal setting with a professional with lots of experience in the field that you might be interested in working in. It's also a great opportunity to have one-on-one support with job application procedures, CVs, cover letters, and all those kind of things.


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