50 Questions you can ask an Alum during Mentoring Month 

When you are networking it can be hard to find meaningful topics to discuss and you may be tempted to revert to asking how the weather is. Here are 50 questions that will help you gain clarity, a new perspective and establish the relationship. 

Exploring a Certain Career 

  1. What is the best part about your job? 
  1. What is the worst part about your job? 
  1. What are some challenges you face often in your role? 
  1. Will I work more individually or in a team? 
  1. What are some softwares and programs you use frequently? 
  1. What are the most important soft skills for the job? 
  1. What would be the typical role progression of this career path? 
  1. Does your position have a lot of supervision, or do you have more autonomy? Does your work need to be approved by higher-ups? 

Applying for a Job 

  1. What can set me apart from other candidates? 
  1. Are there any clubs or extracurricular activities I should be involved in that will look good on my application? 
  1. Do I need a portfolio? How do I make one and what should I include? 
  1. What are the best keywords to include on my resume? 
  1. What makes a good cover letter? Does HR read them in your company? 
  1. What are some good questions to ask during an interview? 
  1. What is the best way to get a job in this industry (where to apply, references, cold call)? 
  1. What job titles should I be searching for that are entry-level positions? 
  1. What kind of jobs can I do with my degree? 
  1. What can I expect the starting salary to be? 

Work Environment 

  1. Do you prefer working in an office or remotely? 
  1. What are some of the best benefits a company can offer? 
  1. Do you have to work after hours or on weekends in your role? How do you unplug from work? 
  1. Are there possibilities for travel? How do you manage cultural differences when working internationally? 
  1. What kind of organizations do you prefer working for (small VS large, non VS for-profit, start-up VS corporation)? 
  1. How would you describe the industry/company culture? 
  1. Is the industry changing or stagnant? Do you see potential growth or decline in the future? 
  1. What are things you refuse to compromise on within your job (personal values, benefits)? 
  1. What is one characteristic you have noticed most people have in your industry? 

How To 

  1. What should I do if I have a conflict with a coworker? 
  1. How do I deal with imposter syndrome? 
  1. What do you do when you feel nervous speaking in public? 
  1. What are your best tips for working in a team? 
  1. How do I ask for a higher starting salary/raise/promotion/negotiate my benefits? 
  1. How do you build professional connections? 
  1. How do you find your work-life balance and what are your tips for managing it? 
  1. What tools do you use to manage your time and stay organized? 

Skill Building 

  1. How can I improve on ____ skill? 
  1. What is a TED talk, podcast, or book you have listened to or read recently? 
  1. Are there any conferences or events you suggest I attend? 
  1. What newsletters or magazines should I subscribe to? What are some good industry thought leaders to follow? 
  1. What is something people of my generation can improve on? What is something we do well? 
  1. What makes a good leader? 

Career Paths 

  1. What are some goals you have accomplished and some you have yet to achieve? 
  1. What is the best piece of advice you have received? 
  1. Is where you are now, what you envisioned for yourself 5 years ago? 
  1. What would you have done differently at the start of your career? 
  1. Who/what event(s) have had a profound impact on your career? 
  1. What is the biggest lesson you learned during university? 
  1. What is a class you wish you had taken? 
  1. What is one thing you wished you’d known before starting your job? 
  1. Did your degree prepare you for your career or did you seek more education or training? 
Don’t know where to start networking? Bishop’s JUMP Mentorship Program pairs recent grads with seasoned alumni. 

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