YSP career tips for success 2. Mentorship part II

Welcome back to our series on career tips for young stroke professionals, last week we addressed Step 1. of Mentorship, what makes a good mentor? This week we are looking at tip 2. with Assistant Professor Dar Dowlatshahi from the University of Ottawa, Canada.

2. How to find and meet a mentor

Many aspects of your career will benefit from mentorship: the research direction, the clinical practice, and even achieving work-life balance. Therefore it is reasonable to have more than one mentor, and finding them depends very much on the mentorship context. For example, it is a good idea to seek a local mentor to help guide your academic development at your own institution, as they are likely to know of the local pitfalls and opportunities that will present themselves in your near future. But when it comes to growing your research profile, you may benefit from a mentor with a strong international academic network, who may be at another institution, or even another country. These are the mentors that can be challenging to find, and meeting them requires persistence, planning, networking and, as with anything else, luck.

First, identify your area of interest, whether it’s a clinical subspecialty, a procedural skill, or a research focus.

Then identify the experts in that area; much of this can be done through online research, or even word of mouth from local experts.

The next step is to reach out to your prospective mentor, in the hopes of securing a fellowship or similar training program. If at all possible, ask an intermediary to introduce you (such as a local mentor who may know the person). If not, then meeting them in person at an academic meeting may be your best bet. In this scenario, it would be helpful to try and connect via email ahead of time. Keep in mind that some experts are highly sought after and very frequently get approached, so they may at first be dismissive. You should come prepared (with project ideas, a specific training plan, or a proposal for a manuscript), and you may need to be persistent, perhaps approaching them again at other meetings, or in follow-up emails.

The process of meeting and getting to know a prospective mentor can take months, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead, and approach more than one person in parallel in case things don’t work out. While the mentor-mentee relationship does not specifically require you to undergo a formal fellowship, it is definitely helpful to spend a reasonable amount of time working closely together – this is how you will learn from them, meet their collaborators, and grow your own network.


YSP career tips for success 2. Mentorship part II Reviewed by Carmen Lahiff-Jenkins on Thursday, March 15, 2018 Rating: 5

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