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Guidance for Mentees

Mentoring is essential for a successful career in academic medicine. Mentors share their expertise in the clinic or laboratory, troubleshoot a problem, advise on a decision, and open doors to new opportunities. A mentoring relationship can be formal or informal, shared or individual, short-term or life-long. Mentors can provide guidance throughout your career but your needs may vary at different stages. Faculty benefit most from a network of mentors serving different needs.

How Can Mentoring Help Me?

What are your needs for guidance? Do you need a coach, a sponsor, or a counselor or a combination of these? Do you need specific help with an project?

Complete Step 1 of the Find a Mentor site to define your needs for mentoring. You may want to complete the Individual Opportunity Plan (IOP) to help focus your career goals before defining your mentoring needs.

What is Important for an Effective Mentoring Relationship?

To be effective and productive you must put thought and effort into the mentoring relationship. Pay attention to the following:

How Can I Get Further Help on Mentoring?

  • Discuss your needs for mentoring with your Division Chief or Chair—your Annual Performance Review (APR) meeting is an excellent opportunity to hold this discussion.
  • Review the resources below and on the Mentoring Resources page.


Making the most of mentors: a guide for mentees. Zerzan J, Hess H, Schur E, Phillips RS, Rigotti N. Acad Med 84: 140–144 (2009). Journal link; PMID: 19116494
An excellent guide to mentoring from the perspective of the mentee.

Academic mentoring—how to give it and how to get it. Detsky AS, Baerlocher MO. JAMA 297: 2134–6 (2007). Journal link; PMID: 17507350
Succinct guidance for both mentors & mentees.

A new mindset on mentoring: creating developmental networks at work. Kram KE, Higgins MC. Sloan Management Review (2009). Link
A brief description of developmental mentoring networks and how to establish your own network.