When breaking into a new field, finding the right path can be a daunting and confusing task. Given the breadth of the technical communication field, newcomers can find themselves at a loss when trying to put together appropriate writing samples, decide which tools to specialize in, and build their portfolio. Events like the STC Carolina Mentoring Meet and Greet are meant to connect veteran technical communicators with mentees in order to expand the mentee’s professional network and improve their potential as a candidate. With a mentor’s guidance, mentees can complete career- or deliverable-focused projects, improve their networking skills, or learn a new authoring tool. Mentoring relationships usually last around three months, and are largely driven by the mentee. Mentees are expected to be proactive in communicating with their mentor, seeking feedback, and following up on their agreed-upon goals.
On August 30, at TEKsystems in Raleigh, nearly 20 STC Carolina chapter members and guests met for the STC Carolina Mentoring Meet and Greet. The president of the STC Carolina chapter, Guiseppe Getto, began by giving an overview of STC, and the services and resources available to members. These resources include the STC Job Bank, salary database, access to publications such as Intercom and TechComm, and opportunities for continuing education.
Mentees and mentors participated in several rounds of one-on-one interviews with each other. These interviews lasted six minutes, and allowed mentors to gain a better understanding of the background, goals, and interests of potential mentees. During these interviews, mentees were able to learn more about each mentor’s areas of expertise. At the end of the event, mentors and mentees were encouraged to provide meeting leaders with their preferred mentees or mentors in the hope of creating a mentor-mentee match.
New technical communicators who may want advice or guidance can benefit from attending a meet and greet. In addition to matching mentors and mentees, these meet and greets allow novice technical communicators to ask questions of veterans, learn from their experience, and get a clearer sense of their own goals and priorities. For a novice in a new field, this opportunity to seek clarity is invaluable.
Event Recap contributed by Kim Poetzinger. Kim is a recent graduate of the NC State MS in Technical Communication program.