Following up with a mentor seems simple– send an email, schedule a call. But too often hear “I lost touch with my mentor, I wish I had followed up but then 2 months passed and I felt awkward reaching back out.” First, don’t feel awkward about messaging 2 months later. Your mentors are there when you need them, even if it’s been a while since you spoke. But when you find the right mentor (personality, knowledge, skills-match), don’t leave things to chance. Schedule up a follow-up in the next 2 or 4 weeks. Here are 3 hidden benefits of following-up (that you don’t get in conversation #1):
- Keeping you honest: How many times have you had a list of things to do, that you keep pushing back and pushing back as more pressing projects load on? It is easy to do, especially when there is no accountability to a mentor who has challenged you with these things. Whether it is updating a resume or working on your elevator pitch, polishing your LinkedIn profile or creating a Priorities checklist, if you know you won’t have to speak again to your mentor about these items, it is easy to let the required work on them slide indefinitely. Having an established follow up call motivates you to meet or exceed the timelines agreed to during the initial call and will add to your success in landing the job you are pursuing.
- Builds on early successes: Personal story – I had a call with a mentee where we explored the career he felt passionate about and worked on his resume and LinkedIn profile. We promised to speak again the following week but he ended up needing more time due to work commitments. We talked 6 weeks later, and he told me now that he was focused in his career choice, he wanted to pursue a job with Company X. I looked up that company and say the General Manager is a close personal friend. The introduction was easy to make and I am confident he will ace the interview! Exploring options with a mentor is a systematic process/journey that requires time and introspective thought. A follow up call may help you down paths you didn’t know you wanted to pursue on your initial mentor call.
- Words of encouragement: Looking for employment is, in my humble opinion, one of the most stressful activities in the world. It takes a toll on one’s physical, emotional, and spiritual well being. Talking with your mentor on regular intervals allows you to regain perspective on things, renew and rejuvenate your passion for the hunt, and provide new prospects to chase down.
Mentors are passionate about helping you find yourself and your next career. This is not something that is accomplished overnight or in a single hour conversation. Here are some final words of advice:
- Talk to many mentors, and pick the few for follow up where you truly feel a connection with the mentor, like they really understand who you are and the career you are chasing.
- Challenge your mentors to help you with specific actions – if they cannot, then move to the next mentor!
- Provide feedback to Veterati when a mentor is or is not particularly helpful – Veterati is committed to providing exceptional mentors and can only do so with honest feedback from mentees like you!
If you would like to contact me directly, book me for a call on Veterati or LinkedIn and drop me a line! I will always make time for a veteran or veteran’s spouse – happy hunting!
Daniel (DJ) Husted
35+ mentees on Veterati