Skip to main content

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


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  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!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Mentor: Barbara Rawlins, Monitoring and Evaluation Team Leader, Maternal and Child Survival Program

Another feature of this blog is bringing you advice and perspectives from people who mentor, by answering 3 questions. Here are  Barbara Rawlins ’  responses: What are mentees looking for? ·  Career guidance ·  Technical advice ·  Moral support ·  Advice on how to negotiate politically-sensitive or controversial situation What 1 piece of advice do you give every mentee you work with? Figure out what they want to do (in the long term) and what steps they can take to get there Why are you interested in mentoring? To support younger colleagues, especially women, to help attain their career goals

A mentor is like a mirror: Even a senior (expert) needs - and wants - mentoring #mentor (

I haven’t been posting for the past 3 months because of an extremely busy time. But I have been mentoring – and in ways that were surprising to me. In July-September, we at Social & Scientific Systems (SSS) were unexpectedly were facing the sooner-than-expected project close-out, and it meant that several staff needed to be looking for new jobs. I wasn’t surprised that some of the staff – mostly those still early in their careers – were asking for my help in updating their resumes. I was more surprised to have two very senior and experienced professionals ask for my help. When they gave me their resumes to review before we met, I realized that both were examples of why a mentor can be useful, no matter how far along you are in your career. One had an illustrious and varied career and many qualifications prior to coming to SSS two years ago. But her resume read like someone who had just finished graduate school. She was very detailed in listing all the things she did (both in her SS

A Decade of SueMentors Mentoring!

The just-finishing 2019 marks a decade of my “formal” SueMentors mentoring. As I reflected on the decade over the last months of 2019, I realized I have learned so much – but haven’t always let mentees and other supporters know that. So I went back to my program-evaluation career and put together an infographic to summarize the 10 years. This shows you what I’ve learned from mentees, the ways mentees have shaped  my delivery of short- and longer-term mentoring, and how I’ve been able to expand from 1-to-1 mentoring to more 1-to-many methods that meet people where they are. Many thanks to the decade of mentees I’ve worked with directly: Mentees who connected through a mentoring program or a “self-referral” or a referral to me from someone else S everal of you who “discovered” me from an online source S ome who I’ve met in person at conferences or by happenstance (like waiting for ride-shares) T hose who have re-contacted me And a special thanks to Kristina Davis,