Written by Eric Crawford June 3, 2021
Why did you decide to become a mentor?
LinkedIn used to have a Q&A section and I used to answer people’s questions about their career development, which I felt made an impact on an individual level and which was very fulfilling for me. I also tried another mentorship program as a mentee, and after going through it, I felt that I could mentor others with an approach that was more practical, personalized, and creative.
So, when I signed up as a MentorCruise mentor, it was a bit of an experiment. After working with my early mentees and getting their positive feedback, I realized that I can quickly connect with people, understand their personal stories and goals, and help them achieve their desired outcomes. It feels great to give back to the tech community in a positive and empowering way. I can’t thank my early clients enough for choosing to collaborate with me.
How did you get your career start?
Very early in my career in New York City, I made some great social connections that led to a part-time, clerical role at a major sports media company.
One day, a producer of an ESPN adventure sports TV show stopped by my desk and asked if I could help him as a production assistant on the show. Of course, I said, “Sure - I can help!” and it was an incredible experience. I learned so much and the producer really empowered me, so I’m truly grateful to him for giving me a chance.
With that experience and the fact that the Internet was just really beginning to take shape (I know I’m dating myself), I was able to land my first job at an Internet sports startup in San Diego. So, I packed my car, drove from New York to San Diego, and that was the beginning of my life in tech.
I’ve been fortunate to have had amazing mentors in my life - family, friends, & people I’ve met through my hobbies and career. My main advice is to take advantage of any opportunity you have to build rapport with someone, whether it be in real life or online. Good things generally come from that.
How do you usually set up mentorships?
In the beginning, my primary goal is to understand a client’s personal story, situation, and motivations from a holistic perspective so that I can create a collaborative plan with the mentee. For each client, I create a Google Doc with my initial assessment and links to practical resources. Then we use that document to track progress and assign tasks going forward. I like to cut through the clutter and make our collaboration super-efficient while recognizing that patience is also important.
For those who wish to land a new job or make a career transition, I provide guidance on their online presence (resume, LinkedIn, social) to ensure that their story, personal value proposition, and pitches are clear and consistent.
During my ongoing engagement with mentees, I feel that it’s important to be very accessible and to provide guidance based on what’s happening in their lives (e.g. interview prep, review a case study assignment, evaluate an offer).
What’s been your favourite mentorship story so far?
Last weekend, one of my first mentees wrote to me with an update about completing his M.A. and securing a new job. He mentioned some specific areas where I helped him get to this point and he was very grateful for that and excited about his new chapter ahead. To me, that is what MentorCruise is all about - establishing connections with people and giving them practical guidance and tools to succeed. It’s also cool to build a MentorCruise alumni network!
What are you getting out of being a mentor?
The coolest thing is that I’ve worked with mentees across the globe, so I thank MentorCruise for providing the platform for those interactions. Also, while I’ve worked with a number of product management-focused clients, I have also collaborated with startup founders, engineers, and marketing professionals.
Overall, I have really enjoyed establishing relationships and providing guidance through MentorCruise. I really appreciate the platform and have much respect for the mentees’ energy and motivation.
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