S.W. Rodgers Group

Tips for being a mentee: ways to get the most out of your mentorship experience

So, you recently started a new job and are working alongside people with years of experience under their belt in either welding, carpentry, truck driving, power line maintenance or another skilled trade. These senior workers possess a deep understanding of the industry, and working with them can feel intimidating. While you just earned the latest credential, now it is time to put your skills to the test. However, you don’t need to be alarmed if you’re feeling out of place. Lengthy on-the-job training is expected for new hires, and the older generation of workers can benefit from learning about the latest skills and technology you bring to the team. According to a Pew Research Survey, 87% of workers believe it will be essential for them to get training and develop new job skills throughout their work life in order to keep up with changes in the workplace. You bring that fresh perspective and gain important job training tips in return.

As you begin to form relationships with the leaders at your new company, you may find yourself connecting with someone on a deeper level that eventually becomes a mentor. As the relationship develops, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Two-way learning.

As the world moves toward more automation and technology-enhanced devices, the younger generation often brings a deeper understanding of the latest technology trends. It is predicted that over 42% of core skills required to perform existing jobs will change over the next two years, mostly due to technological advancements.

While you may feel that your lack of experience on the job is causing an imbalanced mentor-to-mentee relationship, remember that your hard work in the classroom and time learning the latest trends serves as an asset to your new employer. Think about finding ways to highlight your new skills on a daily basis, and don’t be afraid to chime in when you discover an old method is a bit outdated, especially when it comes to using the latest technology!

Ask thoughtful questions!

Nothing shows you are eager to learn more than asking thoughtful questions. Mentors appreciate sharing their insight and often forget how the mundane, day-to-day job requirements aren’t as straightforward for new hires. Don’t be afraid to ask questions referring to jargon or industry-specific terms that are not always defined in the classroom.

You can also bring up questions related to work-life balance and ways you can maximize your time at work and with family at home. Mentors remember what it was like starting a new career and can share lessons learned from their mistakes early on in their careers.

Take lots of notes and be mindful of your mentor’s time.

When mentors share detailed information and advice, taking notes shows that you are actively listening and ready to take action in the future. Mentors often reference specific resources or tools, and it’s helpful to look back and reference these specifics once you are back home. Nothing is worse than learning about a helpful resource and then having to go back and ask about the name or details you forgot to jot down. If they’re giving you the time of day and sharing their knowledge, being respectful and following through and being engaged is the least you could do in return.

Moving forward.

As you begin your career journey, remember that it’s normal to feel uncertainty about starting a new job with new people and new routines. Having a reliable mentor can ease the transition, help you feel supported and go a long way in your happiness at work. Research shows that employees with mentors are more likely to stay with an organization and want to advance in their career.

If you’re interested in learning more about finding a mentor in your industry, connecting with a career coach can be a great place to start. Learn more here.