6 tips to make the most out of your design mentor‑mentee relationship

It’s usually tough to find a good design mentor. What’s tougher is finding a mentor that you can build a lasting, valuable relationship with. Whether you’re looking into getting a design mentor or already have one, here’s some tips and best practices for fostering a successful, fruitful relationship.

1. Set clear goals and expectation

Be clear about your objectives and what you hope to gain from your relationship with your mentor.

Be clear about these objectives and what you hope to gain from your relationship with your mentor. If you can both understand these goals, then you can be much more productive with your time together. Plus, it’ll also help measure your progress and results much more effectively.

2. Keep it professional

Be punctual and always arrive on time to your meetings. Be responsive to communication and listen attentively to feedback. Ask for your mentor’s preferred communication channels and respect those boundaries. Last but not least, always come prepared to meet with your mentor. More on that below.

On The Clock

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3. Always come prepared

Have a list of specific questions ready to ask or specific feedback you’re looking to gain. Your mentor knows a lot of things, but you don’t need to know everything they know. Having an agenda and specific questions to ask helps you to achieve more and build a stronger, more valuable relationship.

4. Embrace honest feedback

Every designer gets negative feedback over the course of their career. It doesn’t make you a bad designer. In fact, learning to turn negative feedback into positive action will make you a better designer. And that’s what your mentor is here to help you do.

RELATED — How to turn negative feedback into design gold

Star Rating Illustration

Illustration for landing page exploration Follow us: Instagram | Behance

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5. Make the relationship a win-win

One way that you can demonstrate value to your mentor is by applying their advice and making progress to achieve your goals. Your mentor is obviously valuable to you because they have the knowledge and expertise to help you grow and advance in your career.

6. Express gratitude

High Five

a new iteration of a previous design, trying to simplify shapes. Love to hear some feedback! behance | instagram

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Building a successful mentor and mentee relationship requires conscious effort from both parties. The mentor must be eager to help you learn and grow, and you as the mentee must be willing to show the same level of commitment ■

Carl is a Product Design recruiter at Facebook. Before recruiting, he was a UI/UX designer working with many tech startups to design mobile apps. Carl is also the co-founder of a Meetup called Global UXD where he helps connect designers with eachother and create new opportunities. Having completed Bloc and Designlab bootcamps before becoming a recruiter, he’s an expert at helping designers land their first design roles. Find Carl on carlwheatley.com and LinkedIn.

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I specialize in the placement of Design professionals @ Facebook. Prior UI/UX Designer.

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Carl Wheatley

I specialize in the placement of Design professionals @ Facebook. Prior UI/UX Designer.