Co-sponsored by Career Services and the UB Alumni Association, the Mentor Network (established in 1991) has a volunteer base of 450+ alumni, parents, and employers from around the globe who serve as a resource to UB students and recent graduates, offering their perspective on career choice, internships, job searching, continuing education and professional advancement. Our mentor volunteers answer students' questions about a variety of career related topics, including:
- Career exploration
- Job/internship searching
- Resumes, cover letters, interviewing, and networking strategies
- Graduate/professional school
- Relocation tips
Mentors play a significant role in the career education of UB students, who are learning to make good decisions, as well as conduct themselves professionally. They are also an invaluable resource for alumni seeking a career change or relocating to a new city.
How It Works
Anyone with an interest in helping UB students and graduates is eligible to become a mentor, regardless of career area, academic background, or geographic location. Most of our mentors are UB alumni, but we also have a number of UB faculty, staff, parents, employers, and members of the community participating in the program.
- Register Online. Create an online profile that gives UB students and recent graduates information about your educational background, career path, and how you are willing to help. Online sign-up is easy, see blue sidebar box at the top of this page for link/ instructions on "Create an Account"
- Create Your Profile. Soon after registering, you will receive login instructions from Career Services. This will allow you to view and edit your online profile at any time. Keep your online mentor profile and contact information up-to-date. Provide enough detail so that students will have an understanding of exactly what it is you do, your career path and educational background, and how you can help.
- Respond to Emails or Calls. UB students and alumni who are seeking mentor assistance will browse the Mentor Network database, and if they think you are a good match for their needs, they will initiate contact with you (usually via email). Together, you will set goals for the mentor/mentee relationship, and decide when and how to meet or speak by phone. As a mentor volunteer, you set the parameters for your involvement in the program.
Tips for Mentor Volunteers
- Establish specific goals and expectations together with your mentee. The mentoring experience will be more enjoyable if you are both "on the same page" from the start.
- Offering information about your career history can help put a student at ease. You may want to discuss specific skills or training that have enhanced your career successes.
- Try to think of things you wish you had known before graduation, and share this with the mentee in terms of expectations vs. realities.
- Identify specific professional organizations that can further the student's career goals, or provide referrals to other appropriate individuals for further career guidance.
- You may want to give your mentee your business card and encourage further questions after your meeting. Feel free to refer the student/alumnus to others in your personal or professional network that might be interested in helping out.
Mentor Network Etiquette
- You are encouraged to take the initiative in suggesting an in-person meeting. Sometimes students will be hesitant about meeting face-to-face; however, this is a valuable learning opportunity for them and all they may need is a little encouragement.
- If you and the mentee are not geographically close by, a phone call or exchange emails is helpful too.
- Students and recent graduates who are inexperienced with professional conduct may require extra patience on your part. Email is the usual culprit: informal communication, sloppy punctuation and spelling, and so on.
- If your meeting involves a meal, coffee, etc., "dutch treat" (each pays his/her own way) is expected.
- While students might ask you to "keep your ear to the ground" for opportunities, you are not expected to help mentee find specific employment. However, do share your knowledge of the types of jobs available in your profession, current hiring and industry trends, and procedural information about hiring that is unique to your profession.
After an interaction with a new mentee, complete the Mentor Volunteer Evaluation Form to tell us about your experience. Your feedback is valuable to us so that we can manage the program effectively and address any concerns you may have.
- "It was the best experience I've ever had through UB. I would suggest this program to all students." - Melissa Wisner, BA English
- "Very informative and helpful in providing direction for career development." - Robert Bollinger, BS Chemical Engineering
- "The alumnus brought me some pertinent articles about resume preparation and supplied some important contact names and numbers of the WNY community. I give our meeting an A+." - Clare Reardon, BA Communication
- "The Mentor Network is able to direct me to what types of positions to seek because I have no experience. This is a great way to gain confidence in beginning a job search." - Debra Harden, BA Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Questions or Concerns
If you have additional questions or concerns related to your participation in the Mentor Network, contact Kristi Fields at (716) 645-4630. You may discontinue your participation in the Mentor Network either temporarily or permanently at any time; we understand our volunteers are busy people and are not always able to sustain their involvement indefinitely.
Note: If you encounter any uncomfortable situation (such as a student/alumnus asking you to help them get a specific job, or is making any other inappropriate requests), please notify Career Services so that we can address the issue.