How a THRIVE mentor can help you to kick-start your career

THRIVE Mentoring at the beginning of your career

Popular culture is littered with examples of the guiding wisdom a well-suited mentor can offer. For Luke Skywalker there was Yoda, for the Karate Kid there was Mr Miyagi and for Heracles there was Philoctetes (although, our Classics students will know that the character was actually based on Chiron the Centaur.)

Many of you may have been lucky enough to have already had a mentor in your life. Someone who at some point believed in you and nurtured your talents to help you achieve more. This could be a parent or sibling, a sports coach or even a teacher who ignited your passion for a particular subject. They could even be the reason why you’re here at Reading studying the course you chose.

Many of the world’s most successful individuals note the importance of such a relationship to their personal and professional development. 70% of the Fortune’s 500 companies have a formal or informal mentoring programme. They have become a pivotal feature for training and development in the world’s leading technology giants, investment banks, research institutes and law firms.

Why? ‘They work, and immediately add real, tangible value’, Muzaffar Khan, founder of NextGen Capital, explains. A mentoring relationship is ‘the most efficient way of spreading accumulated knowledge within the company and passing it on to the next generation of leaders’.

That is because when we communicate one-on-one we have a greater chance to ask questions, clarify knowledge and check progress. Mentoring offers a brilliant opportunity to bounce ideas off an experienced, impartial mind.

That is why here at the University of Reading we launched the THRIVE Mentoring scheme; to put students in contact with experienced professionals to help propel them along their career path. We have partnered with over 400 of these professionals who work for some of the world’s most renowned companies and organisations who you can select to be your mentor for the rest of the academic year to offer you bespoke career support.

This opportunity, which is only available to those in their second year of study (or third year if you have undertaken a four-year extended Masters) or who are undertaking a postgrad degree, offers students the chance to gain real insider knowledge on a chosen industry, expert advice on CV’s and applications as well the general insight for you to discover which role will best suit you.

Furthermore, a mentoring relationship offers you time in which you can develop your interpersonal skills in a professional setting. With these skills, you can grow a network of contacts from your mentor and beyond. These contacts could be invaluable to helping you secure future work experience; as the old saying goes, ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.’

We advise our students to keep in contact with their mentor for an hour or two every month, either by phone, skype or by arranging face-to-face meetings. If you are unsure about how to go about contacting your mentor, the THRIVE team are on hand to offer all-year-round support to help you get the most out of your partnership.

Signing up for those in their second (or third for extended Masters) study year has already started and we are beginning the process of matching our mentors/mentees for the year ahead. For those undertaking a postgrad degree, the scheme begins in the new year and we’ll have more information later in the term. There is no competitive application process but once our mentors have been selected they are gone for good, so be quick to pick the mentor you would like!

For more information on how to sign up to THRIVE and to browse our catalogue of mentors click here:

If you have any questions then please feel free to drop an email to the THRIVE team at the Career Centre: