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Appendix A: Suggested Questions you can ask your Mentor

Obtaining Employment & Advancement

  1. What are the most important skills someone should have to find success in this occupation?
  2. What types of part-time, full-time or summer jobs should I be doing right now which may prepare me for this career path?
  3. What avenues did you explore to find job openings in your field?
  4. What kind of experience is needed to obtain an entry-level position in this profession?
  5. How long should I expect to stay in an entry-level position?
  6. What are the opportunities for advancement?
  7. Is this type of work available on an international basis (without further training)?
  8. In what ways did your education contribute to your career?
  9. What academic courses do you find most relevant to your day-to-day work?
  10. Is a post-graduate certificate or diploma necessary within this field?


  1. Who helped you to get into this field through networking or otherwise?
  2. How important is it to know someone in the industry?
  3. What professional associations or organizations are useful to belong to in this field?
  4. What magazines, journals, web sites are important to read in this field?

Corporate Culture & Expectations

  1. What do you do in a typical day?
  2. What kind of a salary can I expect in an entry-level position?
  3. What are some other jobs in your field that are similar to your own?
  4. What terminology or ideas should I remember when I am applying for a job in this field?
  5. What kind of corporate/company culture exists?
  6. How many hours is the typical work week?
  7. What type of supervision is typical in this career?
  8. Do opportunities to work from a home-based office exist in this industry?


  1. Who had the most significant impact on your choosing this career?
  2. What are the things you find personally rewarding in your career?
  3. What are the things you find frustrating or disappointing?
  4. What extra-curricular activities should I pursue to help me prepare for this career area?
  5. What kind of volunteer experience would be beneficial?
  6. Why did you get into this field?
  7. Is travel a component of the job?
  8. How stressful is this occupation?
  9. How do you personally balance home and work?
  10. How do you make your commuting time most productive?
  11. What was the most surprising part of your transition from university to work?
  12. What do you see as the biggest challenges new graduates face when they enter your industry?

Appendix B: Essentials of correspondence

The following are a few tips that will give your correspondence a professional and focused message. If you take the time to carefully consider these points, you will be on your way to preparing for your mentorship experience.

Essential #1: Etiquette

The speed and convenience of electronic mail can often cause us to compromise the quality and care we would normally take in corresponding with business contacts. Many companies have taken measures to regulate poor e-mail etiquette and all companies can easily recover and read the messages sent and received by their employees. As such, here is some “Do” and “Don’t” advice:

  • DO take the time to spell words completely and correctly. Use a spell-checker.
  • DO remember that your e-mails are just as much a reflection of you and your sincerity as your handshake and attire in a job interview would be. This includes everything from the type of address you use to the content of the messages you send.
  • DO consider setting up an account exclusively for academic and professional purposes, if you do not already have one; for example, try replacing your with
  • DON’T use slang, abbreviations or common e-mail jargon (see below).
  • DON’T send something to your mentor that you wouldn’t want their boss to read.



Whassup? How R U. Thx 4 showing me around your office… btw, i’ve been meaning to ask you how much money you make. ;-) And if you can let me know how to get hooked up with a job at your office.




Dear Joanne

I want to thank you for taking the time to show me around your office yesterday. It was great to meet your colleagues and see the way your team works together.

I recently read an interesting article in the Globe about search firms and was curious to learn about how you came to work at your current employer. Did you seek out this particular position, or was it recommended? Is ‘head- hunting’ a common phenomenon in your line of work?

Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best wishes, Greg

Essential #2: How to write a thank-you letter

Take a moment to think about and write a thank-you letter to your mentor.

Remember to:

  • Be sincere
  • Get the spelling of the mentor’s name, title and address correct
  • Include specific details about your last correspondence/conversation or about your mentor’s interests
  • If you are thanking him/her for a meeting or tour of their office, send it out within a week of meeting your mentor
  • Be sure to highlight something specific that you enjoyed or learned from the exchange/meeting
  • Finish it off on a positive note with a suggestion that you will contact them soon
  • When in doubt, don’t hesitate to e-mail the text of your letter to for editing or suggestions

Essential #3: Leaving voicemail messages

Remember to:

  • Clearly state your name and the name of the person who the message is for.
  • Briefly outline details/reason for your call
  • If you are originating the call, tell the person how much you are looking forward to hearing from them soon
  • If you are returning the call, tell them that you will try to get back to them soon
  • Leave a phone number for the person to call you at their convenience
  • Say thank you