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27 amazing questions to ask your mentor

If you are meeting up with a mentor, someone whose career you admire or are asking for professional advice from a family friend, it pays to have some strategic questions ready to go.

Your one-on-one chat with your mentor should be a conversation that flows, so these questions are here just to get the party started 🎉

Arrive prepared with a few key questions or topics prepared and be sure to listen so you learn from the experiences of your mentor and soak in any helpful feedback they provide. 

Remember your mentor is often giving up their valuable time to help you in your professional career, so make sure you respect their time ⌛

How do I find a mentor?

Okay, so before we dive into questions you might be wondering how do you find a professional you admire and ask them to be your mentor? We’ve summed up mentoring in our article Should I find a career mentor? (yes, and here’s why).

Now, onto good questions to ask your mentor. Let’s split them into topics you could speak about.

Questions about mentoring

Mentoring is a professional relationship. If you’re a high school or university student, this might be your first mentoring experience and that’s something you can talk about with your mentor. Before you meet, reflect on yourself and what you hope to get out of the mentorship. Then you could ask your mentor:

  •  What are your goals for our mentorship?
  •  Why did you choose to be a mentor?
  •  Who has mentored you in the past? 
  • What impact have your past mentors had on you?

Questions about their tertiary studies or past 

Your mentor has been there before you. Chances you choose to pair with them because you want to follow a similar career path, study the same thing or learn more about the industry. Ask your mentor questions like:

  • Why did you choose to study ____ after high school?
  • Is there anything you would change about your early career path?
  • Would you choose to study the same thing now, or something different?
  • Do you think internships or work experience are important?
  • How did you build your network?
  • How do you maintain your network now?
  • Did you have any fears stopping you? And how did you overcome them?
  • How did you choose your career path when you were younger?

Questions about their career

If someone has offered to be your mentor, often it means they are willing to be an open book. Take the opportunity to ask them about their career path, how they got to where they are, the lesson they learnt along the way and if they wish they did something differently.

  • Can you tell me about your career path. Where did you start, and how did you get to your current position?
  • What does a typical day look like for you?
  • What life lesson do you wish you learnt when you were just starting your career?
  • How do you manage a work-life balance?
  • What values do you live by?
  • How do you stay motivated or find inspiration at work?
  • Would you do anything different if given the opportunity?
  • How do you make hard decisions at work?

Ask them for feedback 

Now the spotlight is back on you. After all, the mentor relationship is about launching your career. Offer up information about yourself, your goals and dreams, your hard skills and soft skills. Your mentor may set you tasks and challenges as they get to know you and push you outside your comfort zone. You could ask them:

  • What are 2-3 things that I am good at?
  • What 1-2 things could I improve on?
  • How would you have approached this situation differently?
  • I’m considering studying ~this~ degree. Do you think that will be a wise choice?
  • What professional skills do I need to start developing?
  • How can I better prepare myself for a career in this industry?
  • Do you have any books that you would suggest I read?

Are you feeling confident about meeting with a mentor now? Are you on the lookout to find one? Sign up for one of our FREE Virtual Work Experiences and during the experience you’ll meet with our amazing mentors and be able to ask questions and for feedback. Let’s goooo.

RELATED BLOG: Should I find a career mentor? (yes, and here’s why).

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