News > IDS Features > Guidance for those looking for mentors and advice

Guidance for those looking for mentors and advice

A how to guide for those looking for online mentoring and advice

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

What is the IDS online mentoring and advice programme?

The online mentoring and advice programme helps connect students to alumni, and alumni to alumni and is applicable to both those looking for a long-term mentor find one (we recommend initially 6 months) and for help with more specific queries. For example, help with relocating to a new country/region, preparing for an interview, writing an application, or getting industry specific help. Help with answering these kind of questions won’t necessarily include setting up a mentoring contract (although all the information to help you do this is available should you wish to set one up).

NB: For all types of help and advice IDS refers to those looking for help mentees and those offering help mentors. We also expect everyone using the IDS mentoring and advice programme to abide by the code of conduct outlined in the alumni-alumni mentoring code and the alumni-student code

Online Search

You need to login to the IDS alumni website to use the online search and find members of the alumni network for careers and mentoring help. Once you are logged in go to the careers tab at the top of the page and you should see the mentoring search box (image 1) near the top of the page.

Image 1: Mentoring Search Box

The search results will show those members who have volunteered to help at the top of the list (featured mentors), and all other online profiles that match the criteria underneath this. The results will not show people who have opted out of online mentoring, temporarily or permanently, mentors who have restricted their number of interactions and who have reached their limit, or people who do not meet the search criteria.


On clicking the messaging button you will be able to select the type of help you would like from a drop down (CV Review, Career guidance, Answer to specific questions, Industry/sector specific help, Interview prep, Mentor relationship, Returning to work, Setting up a business, Relocation). You can then type a personalised message to send to your potential mentor/advice giver.

Ensure that your message is clear and precise, check your spelling and ensure that what you have written will be understood by the recipient, and use the recipient’s name in the email.

Try and reference something specific, either something about their work, or perhaps something that you have in common, like you are both from the same city or region. 

Keep it short, don’t ask too many questions, and remember to ensure that your emails contain as much meaning as they would do if you were face to face with the person. 

Always say thank you; both at the end of the email and in any responses.

What Happens Next

Your message is sent to the alumni member via email, they have the option to accept or decline the invitation to connect with you. If they accept they will message you back, if not you will receive a message from the alumni website to let you know to try your search again.

Once a successful match is made you will be emailed a feedback form to complete.

We expect that your mentoring or advice seeking will be conducted primarily online, through email or other digital channels –like Skype, although there is the opportunity for a face to face meeting if you are in the same town or city.

Even if you are not expecting to have a 'traditional' mentor/meentee relationship you may find the the mentoring agreement useful to help you think through what advice you are asking for, and we expect everyone involved in the IDS mentoring and advice programme to abide by the codes of conduct (alumni/alumni code and alumni/student code)
Further Information:

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