Friday, October 15, 2010

Suggestions for getting started

One part of participating in the InfoSecMentors project is the support resources found on this blog and over emails. One email in particular goes out to potential mentors and mentees before they meet their match, giving them suggestions for how to start the process. The first step is to bridge the familiarity gap and get to know each other. I've posted this email below, in case you were one of those volunteers who received it many months ago and were looking for a reference.

Hello participants,

If you're receiving this email, it means we have received all of your application information, and we are busy making a match for you! We've had an overwhelmingly successful number of participants, and we've begun making some great introductions. In the mean time, I thought I would create a small list of activities you should expect to do during the beginning phase of your mentoring relationship.

-Email your mentee with an introduction to yourself. Consider including the answers to questions like "What is your favorite duty on your job?" "When are you available and where are you located?" "What was your experience being a mentee in the past?" and "What do you expect from your mentee in this relationship?"
-Decide with your mentee on a single task that you can help them with, and execute.
-Promote your relationship. With their permission, talk about your mentee on Twitter or other forums. This is to increase the mentee's personal brand, and to make it easier for them to seek help or engage the community.
-Introduce them to other people that can help with another specific issue.
-Wash, Rinse, Repeat.

-Create a list of questions for your mentor.
-Email your mentor with an introduction to yourself. Include information about your experiences up to this point, and what goals you have.
-After getting to know your mentor's skill set, decide on a single task that they can help you with. The more specific, the better. (Not knowing what you want to be in 5 years is fine. Start with a goal of learning about your mentor's daily job. Ask questions about their background and style of living. Then ask them to guide you through introductions to other people in different jobs. It is important to be specific and have your questions ready.)
-Keep in touch! While it usually falls on the mentor to make the connection, it is very important for the mentee to *maintain* that connection. Plan on emailing your mentor every few months after your task is completed with updates to your professional life. This will definitely pay off down the road, I promise!

-Continue being adorable.

When you receive your introductions tomorrow, hopefully you will be pleased, but if there is a problem, just email us and we'll make a change. Problems that may arise include schedule conflicts, ethical/NDA conflicts, or you're already best friends and don't want to "go there." No problem. Give us another chance, and please be *specific* about your goals.

And keep an eye on our blog, We have some helpful tips, and future blog posts planned interviewing some of you on your progress!

Best of luck,

Founder, InfoSec Mentors

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