Tips for PES Mentors
Most of us have had a mentor throughout our academic and professional lives. A mentor can be a manager, co-worker, spouse, or even just a friend. A mentor provides a supportive voice and a ready ear for listening. So what is expected of PES Mentors for Students?
Here are some things to consider when mentoring young engineers in the power engineering profession:
Career experience helps students learn about the industry
An internship is an excellent way for students to test-drive a company. They get a sense of workplace dynamics, a typical day in the life of an engineer, and what real-world challenges await them. Internships are also a low-risk way for a company to learn more about prospective job candidates.
You can help students get career experiences
Most companies have websites devoted to internship experiences and staff available to talk about opportunities. Quite often the best way to secure an internship is to talk with an engineer who can have the human resources department at their company specifically look at a resume. Many professors know engineers working in companies throughout the world. Professors can be a great resource for young students looking for internships. While the professors might not have direct input to the human resources office, they can often steer the student to specific employees within a company who are willing to help match young students with internship opportunities.
Students benefit from mentors' guidance
If a mentor has connections at a certain company, they may be able to help a student get their foot in the door. Mentors typically know many people at different organizations and have many years of professional experience. Invite the student to IEEE/PES meetings to meet working engineers. Talking and networking with others in the field are valuable mechanisms for learning about internship and job opportunities, and gaining insight into career strategies for the future.
Conversations with mentors help guide students in the field
Conversations should be sharing dialogues with students to help explore their interests and career options. Typical questions can include talking about their life and hobbies, where they see themselves in the industry, how much they know about power engineering and some of their proud accomplishments.
A well-written resume is very important
As a mentor, you can guide students on how to effectively present themselves to companies. Help them to feel more comfortable and confident about seeking positions in the industry through internships and jobs. A great resume and cover letter will/can open even more opportunities when applying to positions in the future.
Some advice for students when seeking a career experience
Tell the students to seek a "rotation" assignment if possible
Rotation assignments allow an intern, co-op or new graduate to change positions within a company every 6 to 9 months. Many larger companies offer this option. These programs generally allow students to select the assignment that they liked best at the end of their rotations.
Share your own story
Tell the student how you got into power and energy engineering and what motivated you to do so. Find out their passions and help them discover their own motivation. These conversations should be of sharing and partnering as the most effective relationships are collaborative in nature. It is important to make sure that as a mentor, you coach the student to make their own decisions instead of giving them exact directions. This way, they will be accountable for their own decisions and accomplishments.
Help the future of Power & Energy Engineering by signing up to be a Mentor for PES Scholars.
As you complete this form, you can indicate your preference as to how many times you will like to be contacted by students each month. This number can be changed at any time by logging in and editing your preferences. It is also suggested that you consider creating a separate email address just for mentoring. The students can contact you via email after reviewing the biographical information you enter when signing up. After you receive an email request to be a mentor, you can accept or refuse it via a response email. You can set up your own ground rules for ongoing contacts with students who you agree to mentor such as how many communications per month, topics of the communications, method of communications (phone vs. email), and when the mentoring will end for that student.