Making the most of your mentor's guidance includes being prepared with questions that tap into your mentor's experience. The same applies to conferences, or other opportunities you have to ask experienced people in your field how they work. Here are some questions to consider. Image from MassAcademySciences.
Of course, you can ask anything that you really want to know about your industry, field, or just professional life in general, but if you're not sure how to start, here are specific questions to help:
- What do you wish you'd known about the field before starting in it?
- Do you have thoughts on the best things I can do to stay current in the field — things to read, organisations to join, people to talk to?
- Who do you feel are the best employers in the field? Why? Are there any you'd caution me to stay away from?
- Do you think I'm being realistic about the roles I'm aiming for in this next step?
Especially if you're just starting out, your mentor can help you avoid mistakes that they have made or they have seen others make, and keep your expectations in check. Even if you're talking to someone who isn't really your "mentor," they may have some valuable insight to help your career.
Actually Useful Questions to Ask in Informational Interviews [Ask a Manager]