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Suggestion 2: Use your networks, but don’t abuse your networks.

 I know you're using your networks. After all, you're being proactive about searching out what you need. But this post is all about being prepared so your mentor isn't having to do your work for you.

 

Mentors don't mind helping out at all. That's what mentoring is. But don’t make me do your work for you because then you stick out in my mind - and not always in a good way. A few suggestions about being prepared:

 

You can ask for an informational interview but understand that I many not want to do it in person. Given all the demands on everyone's time these days, asking for 15-20 minutes by phone during a weekday is reasonable to request. Some people you contact may want to go to lunch, but most of my colleagues and I now prefer you get concentrated discussion time on the phone.

Do prep and study before an informational interview whether by phone or email. Make sure you've looked up both my organization and me. And then take time to think about the contact with me. Don't call me and ask me all about my job and my background. And don't respond with empty space to my question about what specifically you are exploring. After all, you contacted me, so be clear in your mind about specifically how I can help you.

 

I have network connections but I cannot necessarily connect you with each and every person I know. I will try to connect you to get started, but remember that a mentor isn't your personal secretary to contact every colleague in all the organizations to which you're applying.

 

Save your CV with informative filename such as CV_John_Trencher_Jan_10.doc not a title like CV_for_Sue.doc. You cannot believe how many I get like this. I don't always save those unless it's worth my time to change the filename when I'm saving it. And, if I don't have it saved on my HDD, then it's unlikely I'll take the time to pass it on.

 

Take the time to make sure your CV is spell-checked and has a date on it (at the end or in a footer). If I see spelling errors, I will be less likely to pass this on to my network. (Do I need to tell you why?!?)

Posted via email from suegriffey's posterous

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  2. Hi Mrs. Griffey,

    Ms. Penny Jessop at Tulane, where I am pursuing my MPH, referred me to your blog. I'm in the process right now of trying to find my dream job and I think I've gotten a few good pointers from your blog. Thank you!

    I do have a question for you, however. Could you please clarify what you mean when you say don't call for an informational interview and ask about your job. Even if I have researched the company and the position is it appropriate to ask what day to day work is like in that position? Are there certain types of questions that you see as better for this type of contact?

    Thanks for your mentoring!

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