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Finding a Career Mentor

Ask Savvy: How Do I Write an Email to a Possible Mentor?

This reader posted in our Ask Savvy group — she wants to know how to write an email to a possible mentor.

OK, so I don't know if they are going to be my mentor or direct me to someone who can be but I was just having a conversation with a college professor and told her about my love for the arts. She has since asked me if I was in school and I said no. She said that if I like I could have coffee with her sometime and she has a friend in the field that I want to go in so that if I ever want to talk to her I can. It took me for ever to call her and she followed up by telling me that I can email her so that we can set something up to talk. But only if I want to.

She must have sensed my shyness or hesitancy. I want to go back to school but I'm nervous about it, I'm also not super social and don't regularly meet people I don't know for coffee (or even really good friends!) I'm not worried about her being a crazy person but I'm considering taking her up on her offer and I want to make a good impression.

Read on for more.

What should I write in my email? Reintroduce myself? We see each other every so often but I can't speak too freely because it's during work hours. Should I suggest/ask that we meet? And then what? I also look 10 years younger than my age and flunked out of school. I'm embarrassed to have to tell her that and that I am 27 not 19 or 20. Do you think it will matter? If we meet how do I speak with her? I feel like she'll talk about scholarships and I won't qualify because of a low GPA and I don't know much about my field, because I haven't taken any classes in it yet, just that that's what I want to do.

How do I handle this and how do I craft this email? Any links, suggestions or examples?

Ask anything budget-, etiquette-, or planning-related — well, almost anything — by posting your questions in the Ask Savvy group, and I'll find the right expert to help you out.

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Emily-Co Emily-Co 4 years
I think you should definitely prep for this meet and greet so you won't feel nervous. I don't think you should overthink your meeting as well. The best thing to do is to always be yourself, because if you're putting up too much of a front to impress, people can always sense it. Just read up as much as you can about the field and come prepared with good questions to which you can't find answers to online. I don't think you need to reintroduce yourself, just a simple, "Hi, how are you?" and a mention that you'd love to get coffee would be fine. It's also helpful (totally optional though!) to add a little detail about your last convo because it shows that you were paying attention. Good luck and try to see this as an exciting opportunity to pick someone's brain!
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