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❌ 5 mentorship mistakes you don’t know you’re making

90% of people don’t do this. Stand out as the 10% that does.

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Struggling to grow in your career?

You need a mentor.

There’s only so much you can do yourself - researching career paths, taking online courses, and doing portfolio projects. At some point, you need an experienced mentor to guide you and ensure you succeed.

Here are 5 mistakes to avoid so you can make the most of your mentorship experience.

Psst: #3 is my favourite tip because it was suggested by EntryLevel’s founder and CEO!


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1. Not setting clear goals or expectations

You know why you want a mentor.

But have you written down your specific goals for mentorship?

What outcomes do you want as a result of mentorship?

What are your expectations for your mentor in terms of time commitment, quality of advice, and communication?

Having clear answers to these questions will ensure you make the most of your mentor’s time.

set clear mentorship goals. specific goals and expectations for mentor.

Your next steps

Create a list of 5 SMART goals for mentorship.

SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

SMART goals


Specific: learn what a day in the life of a product manager is like from my mentor, including daily tasks and the skills I need to do them.

Measurable: I will have achieved my goal when I have a list of skills to develop and a list of tasks to practice.

Attainable: this goal is attainable because I can ask my mentor specific questions about their day as a product manager.

Relevant: this goal is relevant because it contributes to my career growth as a product manager.

Time-bound: I will achieve this goal by the end of this month, and have at least 1 meeting with my mentor by then.

2. Not taking charge

Do you see your mentor as the expert?

Just because they’re an expert doesn’t mean they should take the lead.

Many mentees expect the mentor to take charge and know what to do. However, it is a more productive use of your time if the mentee is the one to take charge.

Here’s what it means to take charge of your mentorship experience:

  • You set clear goals and expectations for mentorship - and communicate this with your mentor so they know how to best help you

  • You create a clear agenda for each mentorship meeting, making sure it aligns with your goals

  • You prepare a list of questions for your mentor

  • You take comprehensive notes during the mentorship meeting, including writing down any action items for yourself or your mentor

Take charge of mentorship. Set goals and communicate them, create a clear agenda, prepare a list of questions, and take meeting notes

If you do all this, all your mentor needs to do is show up to a meeting, answer your questions, and share their experiences.

Make it as easy as possible for your mentor.

After all, they’re busy people and probably receive hundreds of requests for mentorship. By taking charge, you’ll stand out among the other mentees.

Your next steps

Create an agenda and list of questions based on your goals for mentorship.

Example agenda (with duration - to be mindful of your mentor’s time)

[5 min] Introduction, review goals

[15 min] Explore day in the life of a product manager, including tasks and skills required

[5 min] Get personalized advice based on your specific circumstance/learning stage

[5 min] Set clear next steps, say thank you and goodbye

3. Not sending summary notes to your mentor

After a mentorship meeting, clean up your notes and send these notes to your mentor. Here’s why:

  • Not many mentees do this, so you’ll instantly stand out

  • Ensures you follow up with your mentor to maintain the relationship

  • If something is incorrect in your notes, the mentor will correct it

  • Your mentor will feel validated and happy - because your notes show their time had a tangible impact on your growth

If you can, get permission from your mentor to publish key highlights from your notes. Even sharing a few bullet points on LinkedIn and tagging your mentor can help broaden your network, especially if the mentor shares your post.

Send summary notes to stand out as a mentee, maintain the relationship, correct mistakes, and give your mentor validation of their mentorship impact

Your next steps

Draft a notes document based on your agenda. This is what you’ll fill in during the mentorship meeting and what you’ll share with your mentor afterwards.

Example notes document headings

Goal of mentorship meeting (or what problem you’re currently struggling with that you need your mentor’s guidance on)

1 new insight you learned

1 piece of advice from your mentor (personalized for your situation)

Next steps

To be continued next week…

Let’s pause here to implement everything you’ve learned today.

Next week, I’ll be back to assign you more action items to take your mentorship experience to the next level.