Leiden University is keen to give young alumni a good start to their career. The knowledge and experience of more senior Leiden alumni can help them with the questions they have and the choices they face. An online mentor network has been set up to make this exchange possible.
Young alumni often have their own network that is made up largely of people in the same phase of life as themselves. Via the mentor network they can seek the advice of more experienced alumni who may at some time have had to deal with similarchoices. Their shared background at Leiden University makes it easier to initiate contact.
As a mentor you can help a young alumnus by sharing your experience. The network also offers the opportunity to develop your coaching skills, broaden your network and exchange views with talented young professionals. As a mentee, the mentor network offers you the ideal opportunity to discuss the pros and cons of the choices you are looking at and to learn from the experiences of other people.
The Leiden Alumni Mentor Network is an online platform for searching easily between mentors and mentees.
The mentor network uses the online platform Dwillo. It takes just a few simple steps to register as a mentor or mentee.
2. Once you have activated your account, you need to fill in your profile. You can do this very simply using a LinkedIn profile. You will be asked for relevant information such as work experience and study background, as well as your fields of interest. You can also indicate how you would prefer to have contact (for example via email, telephone or in person).
3. Mentees can use a range of search filters to look for a mentor whom they would like to contact. Mentors can also look for a mentee via the platform.
4. You can submit a mentor request or receive such a request from a mentee. If the request is accepted by both parties, the contact details will become visible and you can make an initial appointment.
More information for both mentors and mentees can be found on the website www.dwillo.com/leidenalumni.
"At first I found it a bit daunting to contact a mentor and to state plainly that I wanted to talk about career opportunities and prospects, but my chosen mentor responded quickly and was really enthusiastic and positive. Over a cup of coffee at his practice at home, we talked about how his career had developed, what choices and considerations he had made and how unpredictable things can be. He was very open and also very clear about what choices I could make. It was a very pleasant discussion and I learned a lot by hearing someone else’s views about my own career ideas. At the end of the conversation he gave me a networking tip to get in touch with somebody he knew. Later it turned out that this person was looking for a supervisee for his own supervisor training. So that cup of coffee in Voorschoten gave me a supervision track!"
|"The mentor network gave me the chance to get in contact with people outside my existing network. My mentor helps me discover new opportunities and develop new insights. It’s really useful to be able to exchange views with someone more experienced who has been in the same situation. They can give you much more purposeful information. I think that this mentor-mentee relationship is going to prove very fruitful in the future and I am happy that Leiden University started it!"|
"If you are at the stage where your career could go in any direction, it’s very helpful to be able to put your questions to an independent person. The alumni mentor network is a low-threshold platform for finding that person. The fact that you have both studied in Leiden is perfect for breaking the ice. I would advise other alumni to think hard about the questions you are facing and then to take the time to look for a mentor who could help you with those kinds of questions. The network indicates exactly what areas a mentor is interested in.
My mentor had a similar study background, but went on to do something completely different. I wanted to do the same, but couldn’t see how to make a start. My mentor had some refreshing ideas about how you can present yourself, how you can set something up yourself and how you can use your strengths to build your profile – which is one way you can get into a company via the back door. That suddenly opened up a whole range of new opportunities; she was also prepared to use her network to help me. Our mentor relationship is both motivating and enjoyable. I’d definitely recommend it!”
The Law Faculty started its mentor network in 2014, specifically for students in their final year. They can use the network to get in touch with Law alumni who can help them make choices about their master’s or what specialisation to choose, or with exploring the job market.
The Faculty of Science is also about to start a Leiden Science mentor network, that will focus specifically on final-year Science students. Other faculties are sure to follow suit.
The Leiden Alumni mentor network is different from these faculty networks because it doesn’t focus on students but on young alumni (up to 35 years old), from all departments and faculties. The focus is not on questions about the final stage of the programme, but on issues that are related to career and personal/professional development.
Alumni who have registered with the network as a mentor can indicate in their profile whether they would also like to be part of the faculty mentor network.
If you have any questions about the Leiden Alumni mentor network, please contact us via: firstname.lastname@example.org.