Connect with Mentors
Mentoring is when a professional in academia or industry gives time, attention, insight, and advice to foster a mentee in an individual career. Mentoring is about helping a mentee develop social capital within an environment where they have the resources and support to develop technical and intellectual capital. It is not just providing office space, but introducing a mentee to the inner workings of an organization, providing advice on how to handle various situations, and teaching office interpersonal skills. Mentoring involves two-way communication that has benefits for both parties.
Helpful Resources for the Practice of Mentoring
- Institutional Resources for Postdoc Mentoring from the National Postdoctoral Association
- Nature’s Guide for Mentors: having a good mentor early in your career can be the difference between success and failure in any field. Look for enthusiasm, sensitivity, respect, unselfishness, appreciation of individual differences, support for others, availability, and teaching and communication skills.
- Pathways to Science has specific mentoring guidelines for grads and postdocs
Types of Mentors
As a practice, we do not match you with a mentor. Instead, we can make recommendations for you to explore and create chemistry with a mutually agreeable mentor. Start by reaching out to individuals who share your training, background and interests for informational interviews-short conversations where you learn more about their day-to-day activities and what they love about their work. Be inclusive to get varied perspectives.
To start, explore the shortlists at the Careers Beyond Academia Career Search LibGuide for willing participants to reach out to. Together you can determine the scope, level, and frequency of interactions. Mentors can be inside or outside your field of study, be more or less experienced than you, and can include:
- Your advisor(s)
- Professionals within the organization
- Professionals outside the organization
- Family and friends, colleagues at your hobbies
- Maybe even celebrities or famous scholars you have never met
Alumni are a great resource to help you explore career options. Cornell alumni love to hear from current students, as it can generate great satisfaction in “giving back.” Many have explored different jobs and welcome the opportunity to share what they have learned. Don’t forget about alumni from your previous alma maters.
- Careers Beyond Academia LibGuide has a list of mentors, arranged by career pathway. Many are alumni, previous participants or speakers in our program so they will understand why you are reaching out to them for your career exploration.
- LinkedIn – a professional social network that helps connect professionals in the work community. Consider joining affinity groups such as Careers Beyond Academia’s group.
- Doctoral Career Outcomes – a compilation of surveys that illustrates employers and positions of doctoral alumni.
- Cornell (or your undergraduate alma mater) alumni LinkedIn groups – groups that share information and connections can be university-wide, department specific, or even through a group you are active in (e.g. Cornell Symphony, Women in Science, oSTEM, and many more).
- CUeLINKS – a platform for you to connect with Cornell alumni, faculty, current students, and friends of Cornell to learn, get information, network, and share knowledge with each other.
Get connected with alumni – reach out for an informational interview or career connections through any of these online platforms.