Alumni and Friends

Mentoring (KEW-NET)

The Kent Experiences of Work Network (KEW-NET) is a professional mentoring and networking tool for Kent students and graduates. The network is made up of alumni and business professionals connected to the University who are offering:

  • Advice via email or telephone
  • To review your CV or application form
  • Visits to work places or insight days
  • Possible work experience or internships

Mentoring is a reciprocal, two-way exchange. Mentors and Mentees both contribute to achieve a productive and rewarding mentoring experience. Using KEW-NET, you can be a mentor and a mentee at the same time, so you could support a current student whilst also asking for advice from a fellow alumnus.

  • Interested in being a mentor?
  • Looking for advice?

Interested in being a mentor?

Below are some guidelines that may be helpful before starting a mentorship:

  • Complete your profile. A complete profile gives you the best chance of being found by a suitable mentee, so please take time to complete it in detail. It is particularly important to make sure that the checklist of the mentoring 'services' you are able and willing to provide is kept up to date and the number of simultaneous mentorships reflects your capacity. We want you to volunteer based on the time and energy you have available.
  • Be credible. The most effective mentors are those that have credibility and experience in the area where the mentee is looking for support. Most people will seek the guidance of different mentors to help them develop specific skills or qualities, or to help them reach important decisions. Make sure you list your skills and expertise within your mentor profile. Being credible doesn't mean you need to have all the answers. The best answers for a mentee will come from their own thinking, with the help of coaching and experience to support them.
  • Be genuinely interested in your mentee as an individual. Having started the mentoring exchange with a mentee after reviewing their profile, it is likely you are already genuinely interested in them as an individual, and that you hope the guidance and advice you provide will be of genuine assistance to them in their career. It's important to show the mentee you see this relationship as an important, reciprocal, and to make sure that any time provide, even if it is just a few emails, demonstrates that you are giving them your full attention and are interested in helping them progress and develop.
  • Share your experiences and insights. In doing so, choose stories that you feel are appropriate and helpful, but do so in a neutral way, without any attachment to how your mentee will use this learning. Be open to sharing your mistakes and failures too, as these are often where our biggest lessons are learned.
  • Be objective. The mentoring relationship is a unique one that the mentee is unlikely to have come across before. They may not have found the same objective advice from a parent, a tutor or a manager in previous situations. Therefore it's important to make sure your advice is objective wherever possible, so that they can separate and compare it to other advice they have received, in this sense it becomes all the more valuable to them.

If you would like any help with setting up a profile, or with how to approach other users of the system, please email careerhelp@kent.ac.uk and we can arrange support.

Looking for advice?

Mentees who participate in the programme understand that mentors are busy professionals volunteering their time and experience. They understand that the mentor's role is to inspire and guide, and not necessarily to help organise work or offer employment.

  • Complete your profile. Mentors have a limited amount of resources available to them and they may have to decide which of several mentee applicants to choose from first. Give yourself the best chance of selection by having a complete profile including your interests, aspirations and what you studied. Putting a face to a name always helps, so upload a photo!
  • Initiate. In order to sustain the mentoring relationship, take the initiative to ask your mentor a question, let them know your educational and professional interests and objectives, and ask about their own experiences. The mentor has already made clear what services they are happy to offer so don't be afraid to ask for one. Please do not ask for one that they have not offered!
  • Honour your commitment. Your mentor probably has a very demanding job. They have volunteered to take on the added responsibility of mentoring. Please be appreciative of your mentor's time and investment; respond in a timely manner to your mentor's questions and comments. If you don't have the time to respond at length, send a short message letting your mentor know you will be in contact when you have the opportunity.
  • Expect support, not miracles. You can expect a certain level of support and advice from a mentor, but he or she can't solve your problems for you. Perhaps the most valuable quality a mentor can offer is an objective point of view. A mentor can put the situation in perspective, offer feedback, serve as a sounding board, and identify others who could potentially help. They may suggest activities you can engage in or small ways you can position your work to meet your goals as well as resources that may be helpful to you.
  • Communicate clearly. Initiate contact with your mentor if you have questions or would like to discuss something. Identify your needs and communicate them as clearly as possible to your mentor. It may be helpful to put some focused energy into organising your thoughts and concerns before talking to your mentor, so that the time is spent wisely.
  • Be teachable. Be willing to learn new things, obtain another perspective, and be responsive to suggestions and constructive criticism.
  • Follow through. When you decide to act on your mentor's suggestions, act in a timely manner and then report back to him/her.
  • Remember that you own your development. It's up to you to identify objectives as well as keep the relationship focused and moving forward.
  • Ask for specific advice. On your skill set, ideas, plans, and goals. The more specific you are, the easier it will be for your mentor to respond.
  • Remember to say thank you! Once you have achieved everything you wish to achieve from a particular mentorship please take the time to thank the mentor and then close the relationship via the eMentoring system so that the mentor is available for someone else.

If you would like any help with setting up a profile, or with how to approach other users of the system, please email careerhelp@kent.ac.uk and we can arrange support.

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Sign up

To sign up please click above and you will be asked to register. You will then be approved within a few days. You can then set up your profile or just bring it in from LinkedIn

Alumni Relations - Development Office

The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T: +44 (0)1227 764000

Last Updated: 12/10/2017