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Adviser, Teacher, Role Model, Friend: On being a Mentor to Students in Science and Engineering
tient. As long as students are interested and engaged in their work, they shouldn't be pressured. Goals must evolve at a natural pace. Remind students that they will almost certainly have multiple positions and perhaps even multiple careers, which is the strongest reason to aim for flexibility in qualification and experience.
Graduate Students: Helping Students Become Colleagues
Once a student begins a job search in earnest, there are many ways the mentor can help, from encouragement and advice to direct recommendations. When possible, arrange a telephone call or face-to-face meeting, which can be far more persuasive than a letter. Introduce students to members of your own network of contacts and urge them to extend that network themselves.
Recommend other search aids, including Internet sources (such as the NRC Career Planning Center), professional societies, and ads in journals and major newspapers. Keep handy your own list of telephone numbers and addresses, especially of former students, that might be helpful. (See "Resources" for more ideas.)
After spending years in graduate school, some students might devalue their own abilities or feel that they are too specialized for many employment positions. Remind them that they have acquired not only a series of credentials and a vocation, but a range of transferable skills-including analytical reasoning, program design and management, communication, evaluation, integration, and objectivity-that can be applied in many occupations.