By Caitlin Morris
Many students crave an authentic mentorship experience, but finding a great program can be exhausting. Below are 5 tips to get the most out the Women in Cable Television (WICT) student mentorship program.
- Join the WICT Student Mentor Program
Choosing a major can be stressful. Alley Loope, a senior majoring in Journalism and Electronic Media described how she began her major “unsure of myself because everyone around me wanted to be a news reporter, and I worried I had made the wrong choice.” This mentorship program stood out because of the ability to network with successful women.
Feeling like an imposter clouds decisions, but Alley mentioned that even though “a big fear was meeting strangers, I wanted to make a career out of TV and entertainment.” The night before the deadline, she boldly submitted her application. Instead of becoming overwhelmed at the beginning of this mentorship journey, focus on the small, positive steps you can take to evolve.
- Set measurable goals and hold yourself accountable in mentor meetings
To ensure successful meetings, set up agenda items ahead of time with specific goals. For example, Alley “didn’t know which direction to go” with her resume, so her mentor spent time reviewing to make the important document shine. Through their partnership, Alley “was able to highlight specific projects in my cover letter to help me stand out.” Think about what steps you can take to achieve your goals, and work with your mentor to stay accountable.
- Do your homework and attend all scheduled events
This program provides boot camps and job shadowing events, and mentees advocated attendance in both. By senior year, Karli Sanders, a former WICT mentee, had completed two internships but “still didn’t feel like I had the professional polish to go into the workforce or network successfully.” For her, these events helped “take off the training wheels.”
Alley enjoyed the “opportunity to meet so many people” in the department she wanted to work in, and she leveraged those new relationships to “reconnect at other WICT events.” Mentors and mentees actively participate in these scheduled events, and Karli shared that she became good friends with her mentor. Always show up to scheduled events, step out of your comfort zone, and complete assigned tasks.
- Embrace rejection
When rejection occurs, be fearless in moving on to new opportunities. Karli “really wanted to intern at Scripps Networks Interactive” and she worked with her mentor to identify certain internships that played to her strengths. She “definitely got rejections, so many” but she also chose not to focus on one negative outcome.
Quickly moving on is the best method to then achieve success. Alley states, “I can talk myself down, so I focus on the effort I can put behind my goals.” In these situations, remain calm and remember the training received from the WICT student mentoring program. Review and tweak your resume, refresh your goals, and keep moving forward.
- Continue to network and update your professional brand
As the formal WICT student mentoring comes to an end, make a game plan for how to maintain your new industry connections. Alley remembers, “I actually didn’t have a LinkedIn when I started the program, so I made one, and I now have a bunch of connections.” Reach out to those connections to keep those new skills sharp.
Karli remarks that “you get what you put in” to this program, and “you need to actually do things” and remain proactive with your mentor even after the formal end date. No one is a better advocate for your career that you! Maintaining the relationships and connections made will help down the road as you refine, strategize, and polish your next career moves.
Alley now works at Scripps Networks Interactive (SNI) as a digital media intern, and she recently wrote her first post for Travel Channel on how to enjoy 7 Hours in Barcelona. Karli is a corporate marketing manager for SNI, and she is now a mentor for WICT. Both credit this student mentorship program for accelerating their career development, gaining confidence, and networking more effectively with professionals at levels of their industry.