Mentoring Tip Sheet

Successful mentoring relationships are...

  1. Respectful, supportive, and non-judgemental - Practice active listening.
  2. Trusting - adhere to the SAA code of conduct and respect the privacy of your partner.
  3. Accessible - make time to connect with each other.
  4. Focused - Establish SMART goals to work towards with your mentoring partner.
    1. Specific
    2. Measurable
    3. Achievable
    4. Relevant
    5. Time bound
  5. Empowered - a mentoring relationship is usually more of a conversation than a “class.” Mentees should feel empowered to ask questions and steer the conversation according to their mentoring needs.

Mentoring conversation ideas

Your conversations will vary based on your interests and interpersonal dynamic. You might choose to focus on the archival and allied professions, career growth, facing challenges, and solving problems.

If you are searching for topics to discuss with your mentoring partner, here are some ideas:

Getting to know each other

  1. Why did you want to participate in this program?
  2. What is your professional background?
  3. What are your goals for this mentoring relationship?
  4. Where do you want to go with your career going forward?


  1. Discuss school programs and coursework
  2. Explore how to participate fully in SAA and other professional organizations
  3. Connect at the Annual Meeting and discuss conference sessions
  4. Learn about SAA Education offerings and other workshops and webinars
  5. Career planning and goal-setting
  6. Connect mentees to people and/or resources that can contribute to their
    development objectives, and expand their professional network

Job search

  1. Learn about resources at the SAA Career Center and other job listing websites and databases
  2. Review cover letters and resumes
  3. Practice interviewing and job presentations
  4. Rehearse job negotiation approaches 

On the Job

  1. Navigating promotion and tenure processes
  2. Challenges and opportunities at work
  3. Managing up, down, and sideways
  4. Sharing lessons learned in the workplace
  5. Work/life balance


If you have questions, please contact the Mentoring Program Subcommittee.