Friday, 28 November 2008

The Mentor

Thought I'd share the nomination that won the TRIEC's 2008 Mentor of the Year award for Michael.

He was, truly, surprised.

My mentor, Michael, motivated me by conducting a number of one-on-one sessions in one of his office's meeting rooms. That may seem like a small thing to some but it was an incentive to continue working toward that great career move. Michael also helped me through several versions of my Resume and Cover Letter, my :30s elevator pitch and mock interviews. He pointed out shortcomings ever so kindly. Even the little things were not overlooked. For e.g., for my first meeting with him, I arrived about 20 minutes early. Michael advised that I should try not to arrive more than 10mins early for an interview. Makes sense if you think about it.

Whenever he had a tip, he'd either send an email or call. He'd follow-up, too, to ensure that I was carrying out my 'homework' - making the connections we'd talked about. When I got called for the interview, he unabashedly shared my excitement. It felt like I had someone in my corner. Michael provided his contact info early on and, if he was going to be inaccessible at any time, he'd give me an early heads-up.

I was happy to work with him working with me. Michael 'pushed' me ...ok, strongly encouraged me to tap into the IABC network of Communications professionals. Even though that was not one of the organizations with which he was very familiar, he realized that it was important to my profession. Needless to say, he coached me on what to say and how to best approach the right persons within the organization. When I did not succeed in making contact initially, he kept at me to keep at it, pointing out a change in strategy. It worked! I got in touch with another executive and that actually led me into a conversation with her. While the complimentary invitation to the networking session that we were aiming for did not come to fruition, a new professional relationship did! The exec has since invited me to be a LinkedIn connection and has also referred me to one of her connections to be considered for a new position!

Michael's advice was multi-fold. My Resume and Cover Letter metamorphosed through his input. My :30s elevator pitch became much improved. I also took his advice on arriving no more than 10 mins early. The better part? His advice on preparing for the interview. It was encouraging to hear that I should just be myself as I present well - and I shouldn't underestimate that. More importantly, he emphasized that I should convey an attitude of helping the organization, as opposed to focusing on what they could do for me.

After I got the job - which he was absolutely thrilled about (he was the second party I called after my family) - he gave me very helpful on-the-new-job tips (be a great team player; be willing to help and learn and make your boss look good :)

The best part? At the end of my first month on the job, he emailed congrats and checked on how things were going! That wonderful gesture was much appreciated and forms a great part of the reason for my nomination of Michael ____ for Mentor of the Year 2008. He doesn't know I'm nominating him. I'm thinking it'd be a nice surprise!


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