Choosing a mentor (or mentors) is one of the most important decisions facing an early-career scientist.
It is crucial to your professional success to have one or more strong and knowledgeable advocates and guides in your court. And you can’t leave this up to chance or a random meet.
Obviously, you can’t just go to a mentor store, look at the label and choose the one that seems best. You need to make sure you have the right fit – but how? Here are some ways to avoid a making a bad choice.
What makes the mentor-mentee relationship most useful and productive? Sometimes it’s as basic as finding the ‘right’ principal investigator and lab. Here’s what to look for, what you should expect and be getting from the PI and how to make your job search easier. And here are a few more tips on getting the most out of your mentee experience.
You shouldn’t necessarily limit your search to the ‘right’ PI, though. But whom should you approach? A group of academic researchers offers advice about appropriate targets during a recent Naturejobs Career Expo. Members of an Expo panel this year provide more helpful tips.
And a final bit of pep-talk for your travails: Even the best and most brilliant don’t even consider going it alone. Nobel laureates have much to say about how their mentors helped them early on.