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Having doubts about your future? The Mentor Network can help!

During your studies you have to make a lot of choices. And there are so many possibilities, you sometimes can’t see the wood for the trees. Where do I want to do an internship? What are my options on the job market? Students Justin and Seif were also struggling with these questions, so they called on the help of the University’s Mentor Network.

Why did you sign up for the Mentor Network?

Justin: ‘At the end of my bachelor’s in International Studies I kept asking myself: What kind of job can I do, and – even more important  - what do I want to do?  My fellow students all had ambitious plans, but I didn’t feel their kinds of dreams were right for me. I needed some advice, and preferably from someone with the same background as me, so I signed up for the Mentor Network and got in contact with my mentor: a Leiden alumnus who works for the Dutch Embassy in China.’

Seif: ‘It was in the OWL week that I first heard about the Mentor Network and all the possibilities it offers. Because I'm not sure yet where I want to work once I’ve graduated, I was looking for the experiences of alumni from different countries. It’s useful that the Mentor Network allows you to choose from both a specialist field and country. The Network is great for international students who want to build their network in the Netherlands more quickly.’

How did you look for a mentor?

Justin: ‘I’ve always been interested in working at an embassy, so I looked for mentors in that field and selected countries that appealed to me. Right now I’m considering a master’s in a completely different field so I’m in contact with alumni who have been in the same situation.’  

Seif: ‘I recognised myself in my mentor’s profile. I am studying Law, but I don’t want to be a judge or a lawyer. My mentor took a completely different path after graduating, and I was curious to hear about his experiences in his search for a job.’

How did having a mentor benefit you?

Justin: ‘My mentor is very open about his experiences: he talks about all the things that go on at an embassy and explains his career choices. He also checked my CV and helps me write letters of motivation. He also actively thinks with me in my search for internships. He knows organisations that fit well with what I want, but that I hadn’t thought of yet.’

Seif: ‘My mentor thinks it’s important that students get help from alumni, so a week after I first got in touch with him, we made an arrangement to meet up. We told one another what we wanted from the contact and he explained what he could do for me. He gave me a lot of tips about possible internships and jobs, and I can use his network to get in touch with the right person.’  

Why would you recommend other students to use the Mentor Network?

Justin: ‘You need to build a network early in your studies, not wait until you need it. The Mentor Network can help with this. It brings you in contact with people who have been in the same boat as you, which means they really are able to give you useful tips and tricks.’

Seif: ‘You can find a lot of information on Internet these days, but the choices and mistakes an alumnus has made in his or her career are things you only hear when you talk to them. Besides sharing advice and experiences, they can also do concrete things for you, like checking your CV for example.  Don’t hesitate to ask your mentor questions; he’s there to help you!’

 

Are you struggling to find a suitable internship? Or could you do with some career advice?  If so, you can sign up for the Mentor Network via www.mentornetwerk.universiteitleiden.nl!

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