10-minute mentors address questions common and unusual

November 5, 2019
  • Meetings, Workshops, and Trainings
  • Professional Development and Contributions to the Field
  • SEM Conference
  • Mentoring
two sets of mentoring partners sitting and talking

Like a very formal round of “speed dating,” mentees start at a seat with one mentor and ten minutes to get acquainted. In 10-minute mentor rounds, however, mentees’ goal is not to get a date, but to glean concise bits of career advice before the bell rings. 

Then they switch seats and face a new mentor with a new perspective on professional development. 

In the 10 Minute Mentor session at SEM 2019, here are a few of the compelling conversations that were heard:

“I have a horrible title.” One mentee was in an interesting predicament. They had a terrible title that doesn’t really describe their job — so, when applying for jobs, took to changing the title to fit industry standard titles so companies could understand. “I’ve gotten to the final round of interviews by doing that -- only to not get the position due to the hiring institution researching my position and finding it doesn’t exist. What do you recommend I do?”

“I see no path forward.” Though there’s a clear next career step for one mentee, there is no position available on their campus. “Do I leave after I’ve put in so much time building relationships or do I move on? I’m at a standstill.”

“I can’t find a mentor on my campus.” In its second year, 10 Minute Mentors at SEM saw considerable growth. This opportunity to not only get advice but potentially build a relationship with a mentor is invaluable.

mentor and mentee standing and chatting

Questions like these and more were discussed amongst 13 volunteer mentors at SEM. Sourced from the SEM Advisory Group and as well as SEM attendees with the title of Vice President or above, the mentors represented a diverse set of institutions and locations. 

When asked why they chose to volunteer their time at SEM the mentors answered:

  • We have a mentoring program on campus, so I know the value of mentoring.

  • Often times people are looking for ways to deal with other personnel.

  • I’ve had others walk me through. It seems only appropriate I give the same back. 

  • It’s useful to hear what others outside of my campus are dealing with. It gives me a better perspective on the guidance I give when back on my campus.

See more mentor stories in the AACRAO Connect "3 Minute Mentor" series.