The Power of a Mentor

Are you an up-and-coming professional looking to jumpstart your career? If so, UMUC has a not-so-secret weapon available to help you succeed: the UMUC Career Mentor Program.

This program matches UMUC alumni and industry professionals with UMUC students and alumni who are looking for career guidance and mentorship — whether it’s help setting goals, networking, building a resume, preparing for job interviews, or anything else career related.

How it works
The UMUC Career Mentor Program offers mentors and mentees two opportunities to connect. The program offers mentors and mentees a longer-term connection over a period of up to six months to help mentees fulfill longer career and professional goals. The program encourages mentees to take a “Matching Quiz” to gauge what they hope to receive guidance on, which helps ensure the most relevant matches between prospective mentors and mentees. Based on the results of this assessment, the system recommends mentors for mentees to select from.

Another aspect of the UMUC Mentor Program is the UMUC Community, which offers brief, one-time conversations (much like an informational interview). Those seeking a mentor have the opportunity to connect with many possible mentors through a 30-minute phone call or online chat discussion before determining if they would like to invite someone to fill that important mentor role.

image 2 (1)

Vincent Harlee ’17

“The process to become a UMUC mentee was simple,” says Vincent Harlee ‘17. “You login under your student account on the UMUC website and you select CareerQuest. It will lead you right to the UMUC Career Mentor Program and guide you on selecting a mentor as a mentee.”

After a great match is made, the UMUC Career Mentor Program provides tools to help guide the mentor-mentee interaction so participants enjoy a valuable and rewarding mentoring relationship that focuses on professional success.

Mentorships are designed to keep mentors and mentees connected for six months as they work toward a series of career milestones in pursuit of their career objectives.

Mentoring in action
Harlee was recently paired with mentor Gregory Barber ’07, ’12, ‘15 through the UMUC Career Mentor Program. Harlee works as a registered chiropractic assistant at Baltimore Work Rehabilitation and is just embarking on his IT career.

“What inspired me the most to join the UMUC Career Mentor Program was I was simply looking for leadership and guidance in the cyber security field,” says Harlee. “Searching for help and preparation as a cyber security professional became my main priority, which the UMUC Career Mentor Program provided.”

His mentor, Barber, is a seasoned professional who mentors a number of UMUC students and alumni thanks to his extensive experience, including 21 years of distinguished service in the U.S. Air Force and leadership roles with Fortune 500 companies. Today, as the chief information security officer for the Defense Technology Security Administration, he manages the agency’s cyber-security program.

“I wanted to be a positive influence on people trying to do the same thing I’m doing,” says Barber. “It’s fun to watch someone achieve these goals when they never thought they could.”

How mentees benefit
Working with an experienced mentor provides many benefits to professionals who are just starting out in their careers or who are changing fields. This supportive coaching relationship helps them in many ways, from growing their networks in their industry and gaining insider information about their field to learning about emerging trends in the market. A strong mentor can help a mentee strengthen his or her interpersonal skills and develop an understanding of the ins and outs of their business, as well.

“The mentorship benefited me through strengthening my personal morale in a tremendous way,” Harlee says. “It wasn’t easy to prepare myself to go to the next level of my career, but it paid off in the most extraordinary ways with the help of Mr. Greg Barber, of course. He told me to ‘Keep my head down,’ meaning just keep working hard, and I did. Being impatient sometimes came up, but he pushed me through. He is awesome.”

Find a mentor
The UMUC Career Mentor Program can help you make a new, real-world connection to support your efforts to take your career to the next level. Learn more and sign up here.

2 thoughts on “The Power of a Mentor

Comments are closed.