How to build a relationship with a mentor

Set regular follow-up times. Once you’ve met with a promising mentor and had an initial conversation, think carefully about how and when to follow up. If they’re open to continuing a dialogue, set yourself calendar reminders to follow up and set up meetings. How often you speak with your mentor is up to you, but the goal is continued long-term insight. That could mean hopping on the phone or meeting for coffee once a quarter or even twice a year.
Utilize social media. Social media offers mentees the opportunity to have regular, no-pressure mentor interactions. Use Twitter and LinkedIn for light things: interesting articles, book recommendations, important industry news, etc. Social media allows mentees to nudge their mentors, reminding them that they value the relationship. Be sure not to nudge too frequently, though, or you’ll come off as pushy. [Learn more ways to use LinkedIn personally and professionally.]
Save critical communication for in-person meetings. Don’t discuss crucial career ideas over email or social media. Save that for in-person interactions. “Make a point of trying to meet up with them,” Salemi said. “If their calendar is packed, think outside the box in terms of ‘OK, I’ll meet you in your office’ or ‘Can we FaceTime?’ just to get that interaction … you shouldn’t [just] be sending emails.”
Use old-fashioned mail. Mail is a meaningful way to connect with your mentor. A thank-you note or holiday card can go a long way to show you value your mentor’s advice and presence in your life.


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