In a formal capacity, a mentor is part of a team of advisers who works within the framework of Career Services, and Alumni Affairs. Some folk set up their own businesses as advisers for career changers and career advancement.
The role of mentor involves a serious commitment to listening… and hearing… and understanding the words that are spoken are not necessarily a reflection of what a seeker is seeking.
A mentor draws on past experience and up to date information to make connections between present practical realities and future ambitions and goals.
The mentor can smooth a path by making suggestions about a career path that may not have been previously considered or even known to exist.
She must also be willing to review cover letters and resumes, make introductions and stay in contact with a “client” over the long haul.
Her task is to encourage, support and guide — and back off or help change tactics if her approach to problem solving is not achieving the desired objective.
Dr. Holly Humphrey, dean for medical education at The University of Chicago Pritzker Medical School defines, “Memes,” (mentors) as:
“the cultural analogues to genes, serving as a basis for explaining the spread of idea, values, and beliefs from one generation to the next. In serving as a mentor, one has the privilege of sharing knowledge, expertise, insight and experience in a similar fashion, which can ultimately affect generations far beyond the most immediate recipient.”