As we close out National Mentoring Month, we wanted to spotlight a mentee and mentor from our 3 Cups of Coffee program, operated by JEVS Human Services. Proof that mentorship programs play major roles in preparing individuals to find opportunities and excel in their career fields. We spoke with Tara and Mike about why they chose the 3 Cups of Coffee program, the importance of mentorship, and much more!
Q: What attracted you to JEVS’s 3 Cups of Coffee Program?
A: From its inception, I always thought the 3 Cups of Coffee program had a lot to offer, and knew I wanted to be involved. When I started getting serious about changing career fields, I reached out to the program manager right away! I was looking for a way to connect with someone who had a similar career shift or someone who had experience in the industry I was interested in.
Q: How did having Mike as a mentor prepare you for a new career in your field?
A: Mike was so helpful from the very beginning! He took the time to get to know my work experiences and strengths (as well as weaknesses), and we talked through different avenues to get where I wanted to be. He was actually the one who made the introduction for me to my now boss! Mike worked with me throughout my interview process and got me thinking outside the box to set myself apart from other candidates.
Q: What was your biggest struggle with finding a job before joining the program?
A: My biggest struggle was finding ways to make both my professional and leadership experiences stand out on my résumé and during interviews. I needed to rely on both to make myself a solid candidate for many of the jobs I was looking into.
Q: What is the most important thing you’ve learned from Mike?
A: To think outside the box and be creative in how you represent yourself!
Q: Why did you decide to become a mentor?
A: Over my career, I’ve been so privileged to be the recipient of great mentorship. I wouldn’t have had many of the opportunities presented to me throughout my career if it weren’t for those mentors! I wanted to find a way to pay it forward somehow, and to specifically identify mentees outside of my “traditional” network (my alma mater, my current employer, etc.). I appreciated the thoughtfulness that JEVS puts into the pairing of their mentor/mentee relationships with 3 Cups of Coffee.
Q: Did being a mentor to Tara help you grow in any way?
A: Absolutely! I learned so much from Tara. I appreciated her ability to self-reflect on what mattered most to her in her personal life and how she leveraged that to inform her professional decisions along the way. Our conversations are always mutually beneficial.
Q: Why do you think mentorship programs like “3 Cups of Coffee” are important for struggling job seekers?
A: Mentorship programs are key to expanding and growing your network, especially if you’re currently seeking a career transition. 3 Cups of Coffee pairs mentees with mentors in their desired industry, ensuring that the conversations will be relevant and fruitful to the mentees. At a minimum, mentorship allows you to look at situations and challenges from another person’s perspective. Changing your perspective might be just what you need to land a dream job that you would have never previously considered.
Q: What advice would you give to anyone considering becoming a mentor?
A: If you’re considering becoming a mentor, don’t underestimate your relevant skills and experiences and the impact that sharing them could have on someone else’s life. We take things for granted and often doubt what unique value we have to offer, but simply offering your opinion, speaking to your experiences, and listening to others can be beneficial.