by Jessica Truelsen, University of Westminster Career Mentor

At the start of the year, Surrey Translation Bureau’s Head of Project Management, Jessica Truelsen, was invited to take part in the University’s Career Mentoring Scheme, to support language graduates. We invited Jessica to share her experience as a mentor.

I’m very passionate about inclusivity across the languages industry for those at varying stages of their career, so I jumped at the chance to show potential newcomers what the industry can offer and how they can find their place within it.

The mentor application process was quick and simple and, once accepted, I was invited to a training session that outlined key mentoring skills, as well as some dos and don’ts around confidentiality and safeguarding. I found the training very informative and was grateful for the guidance provided, specifically on setting expectations and a schedule that would fit around my office hours.

After the training session, I received my mentee’s details fairly quickly, who then promptly got in touch to organise our first session together. From our first meeting it was clear that my mentee was thoroughly engaged in the programme and was committed to getting the most out of our sessions. She was always prepared with the information I had requested in advance and finished any tasks I set her before the following session. We covered some general careers topics such as CVs and cover letters, best practices for job applications and tips for interviews. We also discussed what industry-specific roles would suit her interests and identified some relevant CPD (Continuing Professional Development) courses she could attend over the summer. I answered all of her questions as best as I could, and, if I didn’t have the information, I found as much as I could for her.

Overall, I found the mentoring experience to be very rewarding; the flexibility of the programme meant that planning was effortless and having a student who was enthusiastic and wanted to learn as much as possible made all the difference. I really enjoyed talking through my own experiences of the industry and being able to pass on the lessons – good and bad – I’ve learnt along the way. I would definitely recommend the programme to professionals and future students, and I’m thoroughly looking forward to seeing a friendly face in the industry in a few months’ time!

Kalina Mendy, Mentee: I joined the sessions unsure about where my career path was going post-university. Throughout these meetings, Jessica created a space where I could openly discuss and ask questions about project management, Jessica’s own professional development and working within the language industry. I also gained insight into the daily activities of a project manager, and was offered support and advice about entering the industry post-university. We also discussed different roles within an agency and how they all work together. We went into detail about ways to build experience, such as making use of CPD courses and joining different affiliated groups to meet like-minded people.

Overall, my experience as a mentee with Jessica was insightful, confidence-boosting and extremely inspiring. I would highly recommend that anyone considering a career in the language industry make use of this amazing opportunity and reach out.

Sonal Sohal, Senior Mentoring Officer: Jessica has made a significant impact towards Kalina’s development. Having an engaged mentor such as Jessica can make a major difference to a student’s experience of the early years of their career.

The University of Westminster Career Mentoring Scheme aims to connect students and recent graduates with professionals for a long-term mentoring relationship. Mentees benefit from the expertise and insight of their mentors, allowing them to grow personally and professionally with their mentor’s support over three to six months, giving them the confidence to take their next steps toward a successful future career.

If you are interested in a mentoring experience with the University of Westminster, please get in touch with the Mentoring Team at career-mentoring@westminster.ac.uk

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