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Why international students should find a mentor today!

Studying in another country comes with its challenges, but having extra support from someone with more experience can help you to overcome these. Finding a mentor can be a way of expanding your network and gaining valuable experience from someone first hand, but where do you start?

Who could you choose

Think about where you would like to be this time next year to help you decide. If you’re currently studying, you could ask a final year student or a tutor from your university. It could be anyone that has experience that you currently don’t have and is willing to share this with you. Mentors appear naturally in the professional world but there’s no reason why you can’t start early to reap the benefits as soon as you can. Just remember that this is a working relationship and be respectful of the time that they give you.

If you haven’t heard of Ten Thousand Coffees, then you should take a look! They’re a company that helps young people find networking and mentoring connections over a cup of coffee, virtually or in real life. It’s designed to connect those just starting out in their careers with experienced contacts in every field, and it’s free.

Why do you need one?

A mentor is there to give you advice about your chosen field that you might not find in a book because they’ve experienced it first-hand. By choosing someone with expertise, they will be able to give you tips to help you progress. As time goes on, and they see your experience grow, they may even be able to endorse you in certain skills on LinkedIn. By doing this, you will not only expand your knowledge, but your LinkedIn profile when employers come to look at it  A word of advice from business site Shopify, “Don't expect your mentor to show you how to do something (there's Google for that). Instead, rely on your mentor to check your own gut, validate your work, and learn how to think about your problems. When you’re learning, you’re not supposed to look good. Be vulnerable and be curious. Mentorship is all about asking questions.”

When approaching a possible mentor, think about what you would like to learn and how you would like to present yourself. Work out how you can make a good impression by thinking about your elevator pitch. This will allow you to sell yourself to a possible mentor in under 2 minutes. By doing this, you’ll present yourself as prepared and show that you’re willing to work hard to gain this experience from them.

To put this advice into action, sign up to GradLink and start impressing potential employers today.

 

 

By Jen Garmston Published: July 18, 2018

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