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Getting into the groove of your summer placement?

Are you the new manager of summer interns?

No matter what side of the fence you sit on, this is an amazing opportunity to take a test run being a mentee or a mentor! In this blog post, let’s talk about both shall we?

It’s not The Devil Wears Prada…. Or is it?

I’m going to guess there’s a good chance that you’re enjoying your summer placement. This is a great chance for students to get experience in the career that you are aspiring to work in long term. It’s also a chance to see if you even like it and a great way to build relationships and increase your network outside of school. But what can you do in order to really maximize your experience?

This is the time to speak up and make sure you get everything possible out of your summer placement. If you haven’t had a mentor in the past, or if you are interested in having a mentor, this is the perfect way to try it out!

5 Tips for Mentees:

1. Know the WHY.

Have a clear understanding of why you want the specific person to be your Mentor. There were times when people would ask me to be their Mentor and that’s great and truly I’m honoured! However, when I ask why they have no clue. Probably my great sense of humour?!

2. Know the WHAT.

Know what you want to get out of the relationship. Is it getting a great recommendation letter or a recommendation on LinkedIn? Did you want to learn a bit more about that person’s career journey? Are you hoping you can secure a position with the help of this person after grad? Did you just think “yes” to all of the above? Well, be prepared to have these in writing and that way both parties are clear on the actual goal.

3. Have a Plan.

Now this is more like a road map that can flex and adjust to the ongoing results. It’s helpful to set preliminary milestones and share that with your potential Mentor. That way, they can help you and support you in every way they can, even if it’s suggesting a great reading list for business books or perhaps introducing you to someone in their network.

4. Prepare To Do the Work!

Having the answers and the tools in front of you from your Mentor is great, but you also have to do the work. Did you ask for a great business book reco? Make sure you get a copy of the book and actually read it. Don’t depend on online summaries or coasting on, this is a great chance for you to get into it and discuss with your Mentor in order to get the full value.

5. Now That You’ve Got it, Sustain it!

Now that you have built this relationship with your Mentor, the difficult task lies ahead once you do return to school. Ensure you’re both clear on whether you want to continue the relationship and what does that look like after the summer. It’s a good time to re-evaluate goals and what the expectations may be.

Sounds easy? Remember, the Mentors are generously giving their time and effort for you! Celebrate that and make them proud of your progress and development.

37 Pieces Of Flair?! No this is not Office Space!

Congratulations you are now the manager of interns! Does that mean you can take a vacation for the rest of the summer and they can do the work? NO!

Take this chance to really stretch your coaching and mentorship skills to the next level. I know you’re busy so here’s the low down on 5 simple steps you can take.


5 Tips for Mentors:

1. Say Yes.

If a summer student asks you to be their Mentor, say yes. You can learn so much from students as they have a refreshing perspective on the latest trends and what’s happening in the industry. You don’t have to do the research for your next RFP, the RFP already is there for you in the form of your Mentee. Also, we were all once at that point where we needed someone to give us a break. Now it’s your turn to pay back the Universe!

2. Listen.

The Mentee should be clear on their goals and have a plan in place. Your part is to listen to them, encourage and inspire their journey to eventually lead them to their goal. This is huge for me. I tend to just blurt out what I think would be best for the situation, but I really challenge myself to get the Mentee to find it out for themselves. This is about them and you coach along the way.

3. Be The Devil…the Devil’s Advocate that is.

I’m sure you have heard that the magic happens outside the comfort zone. Try to encourage and set the example for your Mentee to do this. It’s a low risk way to try something new, and you never know as it could be the new, ground breaking solution! If you don’t do it now, then when?

4. Be Authentic.

I’m brutally honest with my Mentees. Hopefully not in a discouraging way but I will tell them my true and authentic opinion when they ask me. Why? Because I owe that to them. Most of my Mentees are going into the business world. This is a good experience for them to #1 learn and practice authenticity (And yes the struggle is real!) and #2 learn and practice how to not take things personally. There is always a solution to a challenge, you just have to learn how to position it!

5. Celebrate!

In our busy world, I know this is true for me, I don’t celebrate the small wins along the way enough. I’m usually onto the next thing and charging forward with laser focus and determination. It’s good to be the example for your Mentees that to celebrate doesn’t mean to slack off. It’s choosing to recognize the progress that they have done so far. I hate the expression “work/life balance” because what happens when it comes tumbling down? I like “harmony” and as Confucius said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

Are you ready to take this on? Being a Mentor sometimes can be difficult with all of the other responsibilities that one has in their day to day, but it’s one of the most rewarding experience you will ever have and something that you can truly call your own no matter what industry or brand you represent.

Share With Us:

  • Are you a student who has a great Mentor? What makes the relationship work?
  • Are you a manager/employer who is a Mentor? What’s the most unexpected learning you had from the experience?


grace-lanuzaThis article was written by Grace Lanuza. 

Grace’s fifteen-plus years in the ever-changing world of experiential marketing taught her the importance of having the right team in the right roles. Managing the brands of Fortune 500 and Fortune 100 companies such as Procter & Gamble Beauty, Unile-ver, John Frieda, Kao, Coca-Cola, Labatt/Anheuser Busch, Microsoft XBOX, Rogers Wireless, Atlantic Canada House for the 2010 Winter Olympics, and many others has given her a variety of experience in consumer behavior and shopper marketing.