Skip to main content

First in Family mentoring program

What happens next

Your application will be assessed, and if you are shortlisted you will be invited to attend an interview (online). This interview will assess your goals for the program and help us match you with a mentor.

If successful, we will set you up with a suitable mentor based on your career goals, skill development needs and the mentor’s areas of expertise. We will contact you with the outcome of your application.

The mentoring relationship

Our mentors have been selected based on their life and work experience. They have also been selected on their motivation to share their journey with our students. Our mentors understand the difference that a mentoring relationship can have in positively influencing the future direction of our students, most having been mentored themselves during their career.

It’s important for you and your mentor to set expectations with each other as to what you both hope to gain through the process and what your mentor can offer in terms of time and advice. Below are some guidelines to what the relationship between mentor and mentee can bring.

You should be clear about what you hope to achieve e.g. seek career advice. Be open to new opportunities and have a willingness to learn from your mentor. Your mentor’s time and experience are valuable and that there may be occasions when they are not immediately available.

Your responsibilities include:

  • being proactive with your mentor – you are the driver of the relationship
  • accepting responsibility for your own goals, decisions and actions
  • completing agreed tasks and actively participating in program activities
  • appreciating the professional and personal commitments of mentors and being flexible with their availability
  • maintaining confidentiality (personal and professional). If in doubt, ask them first before sharing
  • keeping your appointments with your mentor and providing plenty of notice if arrangements must be postponed or cancelled
  • maintaining contact with the school officer throughout the program
  • completing journal entries after each meeting and submitting two entries by the outlined deadlines.

The role of the mentor is to inspire you to think about the range of work options available to them during and at the end of your degree. The mentor will share their knowledge and experience to equip their mentee to meet challenges they face in starting and developing their career.

Responsibilities include assisting you to:

  • formulate or articulate your career goals, and strategies for achieving them
  • understand the professional work environment
  • identify some of the keys to starting your career and progression through an organisation
  • understand the importance of networks, how to develop them and how they work
  • learn through constructive feedback
  • maintain confidentiality (professional and personal).

Possible discussion topics

The themes below are given to help inspire possible topics of conversation with your mentor. They are in no way the only things that you talk about. They can help you get the conversation started or help you both chart your mentoring journey.

  • Your story up to now – how did you come to study economics at the University of Sydney? What are your best achievements so far?
  • What have you been doing so far and how does this align with your ‘dream job’?
  • What are your majors and why did you choose them? What are your favourite subjects?
  • How did you mentor come to be in the position they are in now? Their career path, subjects at university, skills, extracurricular activities, decision making, opportunities etc.
  • What are their values and how do they align with their career to date?
  • What is you dream job? How did you arrive at that possible career?
  • How has your mentor explored their career options in the past – what worked, what did not?
  • What was your mentors dream job when they were at university?
  • How did your mentor explore the options open to them and what is the best way to research the job market?
  • What is the best way to build networks?

Things you may want to reflect on:

  • Research the market and chat about what options you found.
  • What can you take on board from your mentors’ response? Is your ‘dream job’ still your dream job?
  • How does the mentors dream job?
  • What things are you are currently doing outside of class to build your experience and skills needed to start your career?
  • What transferable skills do you have and how can you use these in various roles?
  • Ask your mentor about their own experience – identifying skill gaps and how they filled those gaps.
  • How did they know they needed to develop certain skills?
  • What is their next professional/personal development step?

Things to consider:

  • Read up on your mentor – their career path to date, their qualifications, and their personal pursuits such as sitting on executive boards or volunteering. Be prepared when you discuss this topic.
  • Talk about your own experience in job hunting or applying for voluntary or paid positions – how did you find the position, how did you apply, what went well, what went less well?
  • What has been your mentors own experience of the recruitment process? How did they prepare?
  • Discuss the mentors CV and how they designed it, what they included, how they tailored it to what a recruiter would want to see.
  • How have recruiters, contacts/network and LinkedIn helped with their career?
  • How did they deal with rejection during the recruitment process?
  • What are your experiences in the workplace – positive and negative?
  • What are your networks and how would you like to start building them or improve them?
  • How did the mentor build their personal brand – managing around and up and how to connect everything they’ve learn to take on new roles.
  • How did the mentor build their networks?

Things you may want to consider:

  • Research what “personal brand” is and what it means to you.
  • What does your personal brand look like?
  • How do you think you should act in the professional world? How does that reflect with the mentor’s experience since starting their career?
  • How would you have dealt with something that went wrong in the office such as conflict or strategic changes? How did your mentor react?

Reflective journals

As part of the program, you need to keep a reflective journal, completed after each visit with your mentor. They aren’t assessed but they are integral to getting the best experience possible from the program. Your journal isn’t just a chance for you to note down key outtakes from your meeting, it also helps build important graduate qualities like critical thinking and thought analysis skills.

What is a reflective journal?

A reflective journal is very personal, so there is no right or wrong way to write your journal. It should be a very honest and personally developing activity. When you write your journal, you may interpret events or experiences differently to others or react differently than others do. That’s okay, it is a personal reflection.

Your entries should be around 600 words in length. The quality comes in what you write not how much.

There are 4 main criteria that a reflective journal entry should contain:

  • Situation: what happened?
  • Affect: what was its impact on you personally?
  • Interpretation: what did you learn from the experience?
  • Decision: what did you decide you would do differently should the situation arise again? How would you apply the learnings? What has changed (your thinking, your assumptions, your skills etc.) What are your action items to continue developing in this area?
Last updated: 01 September 2023

Website feedback

Tell us if you’ve spotted a typo or something else wrong with this page.

Thank you

Your feedback has been sent.

Sorry there was a problem sending your feedback. Please try again

You should only use this form to send feedback about the content on this webpage – we will not respond to other enquiries made through this form. If you have an enquiry or need help with something else such as your enrolment, course etc you can contact the Student Centre.