Resources for mentors
PressPad mentors will give interns a place to stay and work with them to identify professional goals. The most important thing is to try and make time for the mentee to talk through their day with you and make it clear that you are happy to help/offer advice. Who knows? They might also teach you a thing or two.
- Make sure your intern has their own room with clean sheets, a towel and there is a place for them to work, charge their phone etc.
- Give the intern their own keys.
- Share the Wi-Fi password – ideally write it down for them along with your phone number and emergency contact details e.g. if a neighbour has a spare key. Ask them for the number of their emergency contact/next-of-kin
- Make sure you tell them if any areas are off limits.
- Make sure the bathroom door can be locked.
- Provide shampoo and soap in the bathroom and make it clear which towel is theirs – if you have some fancy toiletries that you don’t want to share then don’t leave them out or make it clear that they are not to be used.
- Make sure there is plenty of loo roll and facilities are clean.
- Point out where bathroom cleaner etc. is – you are not their parents and they should clean up after themselves. NB some religious backgrounds might do things rather differently to you in the bathroom, for example some Muslims will have a jug for washing with water after using the toilet, they will provide their own.
- Make sure that your intern knows where loo roll, washing up liquid etc. are kept.
- Show them how to operate washing machines etc.
What about food?
You are not expected to provide interns with food during their stay. At a minimum, you must make sure there is space in the fridge for them to keep their own food. However, feel free to come up with any arrangement that works best for you. Perhaps you have an arrangement where tea and biscuits are communal but your coffee is too precious to share? Maybe you’re up for cooking the odd meal to share but you can’t commit to eating together every night. Each arrangement is specific to each mentor-mentee relationship but they are not expecting to be fed for free. Make sure you have this conversation with them early on so there are no misunderstandings.
If you decide to share food with them (awesome!) here’s some things to think about. Food can be tricky – vegans, gluten free diets or religious diets may not match your own eating habits. It’s best if you discuss this on day one. NB religious Muslims may be fasting during Ramadan – no food or drink from dawn to dusk – and will require a meal to break the fast at around 9.20pm in London this year. Ramadan ends Friday June 15th this year.
Whether you are a PressPad mentor or have just taken a young journalist under your wing, mentoring can be very rewarding and can last far longer than the short internship. Best mentoring advice will come from your own experience. E.g. what do you wish someone had told you at the start of your career? Be it advice about juggling being a parent with your journalism career or how to go about asking for pay rises etc.
Take a minute to think about the best mentor you've ever had.
This doesn't have to be someone at work, although it certainly could be. Mentors come in all shapes and sizes: It can be a manager, a colleague, a parent, a friend, a coach, a university tutor... anyone who's been a particularly excellent advisor at some point in your life.
At its core, being a mentor is being a trusted advisor. It can mean a lot of different things, but it all boils down to making yourself available to support and advise someone when they need it, delivering that support in a way that makes sense to them, and always, always keeping that person's best interests in mind.
A mentor/mentee relationship can last for years, or it can last one coffee date. When you mentor someone long-term, you really get to know and understand their personality, learning style, and goals, which can set you up to offer richer, more relevant advice over time.
But mentorship doesn't have to be long-term. It can also be a one-off or short-term relationship, like when someone needs help working through a specific problem -- such as a career transition or a problem with a manager.
- Take the time to find out what the intern‘s dreams/ambitions are.
- Can you put them in touch with someone who can help them?
- Help them draft emails asking people who may be able to help them to meet for a coffee and chat.
- Explain how they should write to ask for help and how to get the most out of having a coffee with someone.
- Take time to have a look at the intern’s CV – this is an area that you may be able to offer help. Are they over or under selling themselves? You could help them write up their London internship for their CV.
- If a mentee is struggling with a piece of work do not just do it for them – instead take the time to help and advise them.
- Remember that the intern is with you to gain work experience in London – it is a fantastic and important opportunity for them and they may want to spend their evening quietly – rather than non-stop partying.
- Give the intern advice about how to get the best out of their placement. If this is their first experience of journalism in a workplace they may not appreciate the importance of keeping a notebook (paper or computer files)
- Advise them on keeping a decisions notebook as well as a diary and advise them on organising contacts from day one.
- Help them develop good working practices such as sending brief emails after each meeting so that everyone is clear about what has been decided.
- Do not over promise.