From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development

December 2021
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Networking 7. Mentoring and improving careers
Filed under: Mentoring, First Year on Job, Leadership, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 10:47 am

Picture this:  you want to contribute
something in your field that you have
no recent contact with.  What do you

Picture this:  you want to begin
a role as a adjunct professor, do you
need special professional insurance?

Picture this:  you are coaching someone
who asks for specific help in a field
in which you have limited contact.  What
do you offer this person?  How can you
help him make personal progress?

Each of these situations have occurred
to me in the last week.  In dealing with
them, extensive use of my mentors
and my network were instrumental
in influencing my actions.  In more than
one situation, I spoke out loud what I
learned and planned to do and received
feedback that was even stronger.

People are willing to do this, when they
know you respect their opinion and will
go out of your way to help them.

This is another one of those multi-
segment postings divided up into
response segments.

Comment 1:  Effective networks, looking
out for the benefit of others.
Comment 2:  Mentoring roles
Comment 3:  Differences between
mentoring and networks

3 Responses to “Networking 7. Mentoring and improving careers”

  1. site admin Says:

    Situation 1
    Limited contact in an important area
    of interest.

    Approach: Networking with key
    individuals who you know and trust
    and who have insight into your
    problem or question.

    It has been three years since my
    daughter was considering a
    post-doc. Many years have passed
    since my career path took me down
    the industrial route.

    However, in the last year three
    top-notch individuals chose me to
    interact with either just coming out
    of grad school to begin a post-doc,
    or just leaving their post-doc and
    seeking an industrial position.

    So, I had some people in my current
    network that I could pose a series of
    questions about helping me hold
    discussions with grad students on
    successful tactics and long term
    strategies for post-doctoral decisions.

    Resource and Background:
    Regine P. Azurin and Yvette Pantilla
    have a book, “Effective Networking
    for Professional Success: Making
    the Most Your Personal Contacts” 
    by Rupert Hart, Stirling Books, 1996
    (ISBN: 0949142093).
    Some concepts caught my eye:
    - We are all “self-employed” now
    - age of job security is over. Networking
    is one skill you need to practice to
    get ahead and survive uncertain times.

    • Networking is essential for new jobs,
    information management, introductions
    and contracts. (One fellow has even
    told me of WOM Word of Mouth advertising.)

    • Advertising is becoming ineffective
    except on a large scale.

    • Networking helps you find hidden

    • Think of putting yourself in an
    “advantaged position” without
    “taking advantage of someone”…
        to set you apart from your competition
        as indirect approaches can be
    better than direct ones to introduce
    you to your target
         to act as interface or go between

    The three key networking techniques are:
    • Build a network of partners to keep
    an open eye and ear for new
    opportunities for you.

    • Reach targeted individuals in two
    ways: directly or indirectly.

    • Build visibility by raising your profile

    Building your network is an ongoing
    process. You need to expand your
    range of contacts constantly. Planning
    could include:
    1. Define your objective.
    2. Select the right technique.
    3. Understand that “deal flow
    4. Identify your target.
    5. Work out your short statement of
    what you are about, what you can offer.
    6. Think about what you can do for
    your network partners in exchange
    for information and contacts. 
  2. site admin Says:

    Situation 2

    Exploring alternatives for a plan of
    action without doing any of them.
    Finding ways of bringing up topics
    and testing them out on someone
    who has experience to reflect on
    pros and cons and various scenarios.

    Discuss situation with a mentor and
    seek input and feedback. Consider:
    I asked a trusted colleague who is a
    reference for me for professional
    roles to do a ’sanity check’ for me.
    Do I need “errors and omissions
    insurance” for an adjunct professor’s

    His counsel was terrific, as usual.
    There are certain situations that it
    is wise to be covered by errors and
    omissions insurance when you are
    self employed—
      - when you are rendering judgement,
      - when you are writing reports with
    recommendations concerning the
    health protection of people (and the
    public), and
        - anytime your decision requires 
    a spending decision.

    “I taught for over 20 years before I
    ever had any “E&O” Insurance.
    The school should cover any necessary
    insurance that they require. People
    can teach almost anything - right or
    wrong without penalty (other than
    future loss of position).”

    Resource and Background:
    Mentoring has always been a part
    of the workplace.  Mentors are
    important since they can help guide
    decisions. While a mentor can be
    helpful when looking for a job, it also
    important to find a mentor once you
    have a job. A mentor is expecially
    helpful in sorting out career options.
  3. site admin Says:

    Situation 3
    You are coaching someone
    who asks for specific help in a field in
    which you have limited contact. What
    do you offer this person?
    How can you help him make personal progress?

    Outcome: Create a new network role
    in my network) for career consulting
    using people who have expressed interest
        - in helping others,
        - in developing management skills, and
        - has good relational skills
    but has limited time to give.

    Mentoring and networking are the two
    greatest things that accomplished
    professioinals attribute to their success.
    It is important to provide others the
    opportunity of being on both sides of
    the mentoring relationship.  Mentoring
    offers additional networking opportunities,
    fosters diversity and helps you grow
    new skills and knowledge.

    Resource and Background:
    Tips For A Meaningful Mentoring
    Tips for Mentees

    • Take an active role - you will get out
    of it what you put into it.
    • Know what you want from the
    relationship and articulate this to the
    mentor up front to ensure that
    expectations are consistent with
    one another (e.g., mentor’s expertise
    that you would benefit from, end
    result objectives, how to measure).
    • Ensure limited time commitments and
    arrangements. Match up time
    commitments, schedules,  manner
    of interaction (i.e., phone, face-to-face,
    • Prepare for each meeting. Prior to
    each contact or meeting with your
    mentor, prepare a list of items you
    would like addressed and if possible,
    email them beforehand to the mentor.
    • Keep a journal. notebook of information
    gained from the mentor. write in the
    journal regularly and refer back to it.
    • Listen with an open mind.
    • Always express your appreciation.

    Tips for Mentors
    • Set goals and parameters for the
    mentoring relationship that are
    mutually agreed upon.
    • Create a mutual learning experience
    • Develop your one-on-one leadership
    and coaching skills.
    • Offer your experience as a guideline.
    • Consider names of other people.


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