Last week we held an online panel discussion for our mentors and mentees who all shared their top tips to help you get the most out of the mentoring scheme:

  • Make sure you’re honest and open with your mentor about what you want to achieve and what you’re struggling with.
  • Make a plan for what you want to achieve over the course of the mentorship. This may change in the course of your mentorship but it’s a good idea to have an idea of what you want to achieve.
  • If you’re not honest then you’re not creating a space of vulnerability or truth between the two of you. It’s meant to be your safe space and be really honest about what you want to work on. If you go into it and you’re pretending to be someone you’re not then you’re not honest about the things that are holding you back. – Amanda Nunn
  • You can’t expect that your mentor will hand you everything on a plate. You have to put the effort in. They will be a very crucial kit in your toolbox to help make things happen.
  • Make sure you have a conversation about the frequency of your meetings. Not meeting a lot doesn’t mean the mentorship is a failure.
  • So many mentors on this scheme are incredibly busy women. I was paired with Eleanor Mills and then didn’t hear from her for a couple of months. If your mentor has an assistant or a PA ask them for the contact details of that person because it will be easier to book meetings via them than directly. – Ellie Austin
  • Journalism is about relationships. Being a woman of colour in this industry it’s so important to have someone fighting for you in your corner. I’ve struggled with imposter syndrome when trying to break into this industry so having my mentor to remind me that I am good enough was invaluable. – Um-E-Aymen Babar
  • If from the offset you feel like you don’t have much in common when you start talking, you’ll often find that it is the little things that you will have in common. Perhaps you don’t feel confident in meetings, wants to move jobs or looking to make a career transition, there is always something that will have in common, no matter how small, so build up from that connection.
  • No connection in journalism is a waste. You never know when you might need that person for something or they might need you. Networking is so important as a journalist so don’t dismiss anyone just because they may not immediately be useful to you now. It’s like a puzzle and working out how you can make the most of that. Think about where you connect and work from there.
  • As important as it is to set goals, make sure you reflect on the progress that you’ve made as well.
  • If things aren’t on track, have an honest conversation with your mentor about the goals you set and if you haven’t reached those goals and give it a few weeks. If nothing changes then contact us and we can help.
  • The mentees on the course are also a great resource because you will all rise up in the industry together so you should get to know one another and be friends and colleagues from afar and give each other a helping hand when you can.
  • Figure out the kind of networking that will work for you. I don’t like going to cocktail parties and making small talk and I found it more useful meeting people in coffee shops.

Our mentoring scheme, kindly sponsored by TESCO, matches journalists with other women journalists in need of personal, one-to-one advice for a sustained period of time.

After a very successful seven years and 650 happy mentees, we are delighted to be launching our 2023 scheme in November 2022.