Mentoring – do you want your career to have the X Factor?

mentoring-altblogpicOk so the title of my post may sound a little misleading as I’m not going to talk about how you can start a career in the music industry, but X Factor has as group of recognisable mentors who offer their mentees a chance to learn from their own personal experience. So if you’d like a Gary Barlow or Nicole Scherzinger to help with your career journey read on. (If you’re not an X Factor fan apologies for the references to it ;P )

A careers mentor can help you whether you are still trying to work out what you’d like to do or if you already have a more specific target in mind. They’ll be able to help you to look at career options and can give you an insight into what a specific job or career is like. Having a mentor can help you think about skills that are used in specific jobs, ways to develop experience to make you stand out from the many other people applying, and steps you may need to think about to prepare applications for your chosen job or employer.

Our career mentoring programme, Manchester Gold, is open for applications for the spring programme now.  The closing date for applications is Friday 8 February for all strands of the programme so make sure to complete the application soon.

We’ve got hundreds of mentors who are offering to take part in the programme this spring. You may have seen Elizabeth’s post about PhD mentoring which gave ideas about some of the mentors specifically looking to mentor PhD candidates. I’m not going to list all of the other mentors here or it would take me days! Instead, if you’re applying to Manchester Gold, make sure to have a look at the pdfs which list mentors by the industry/job they work in and also by the degree subject they studied – see them on our website here.

When you complete your application, you can highlight mentors you are specifically interested in but the mentoring team can’t guarantee to match you with your chosen mentor. They will use this information to see if there are other mentors who may be suitable given the ones you’ve suggested. If you’re not sure what career options are available to you, you can see which mentors did the same degree (or something similar) as you and ask to be matched with someone on that basis.

Just a reminder that each year Manchester Gold is very popular so we aren’t able to match everyone who applies to take part. As we read all of the applications and then go through the process of working out matches between mentors and potential mentees, it can be a little slow. Think of it as our version of the X Factor audition process – we have to look at all of the people wanting to take part and try to find suitable matches so that both parties taking part will find it a useful experience. It’s not as glamorous as the X Factor as we don’t get to go across the country or world holding events (so here’s where my analogy falls down I can hear you cry), but can be quite a long process to get from the initial applications to completed matches.

So if you hear that a friend has been successful and you haven’t heard back yet, it may just be that the mentor we want to match you with has been very busy and not been able to confirm the match we’ve proposed.

If this (or the X Factor comparison) hasn’t put you off, we look forward to you applying and hopefully successfully matching some of you this semester!

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