A mentorship empowers you with valuable career guidance and meaningful connections that can help you land a job. Once you’ve identified a mentor, the first step in establishing your relationship is to contact them with an introductory email.
What is an introductory email?
An introductory email is a message you’ll use to reach out to a new career mentor. It expresses your appreciation for the mentor’s involvement and provides context about yourself.
Your introductory email will help set the tone for your mentor-mentee activities and communicate what you expect from the relationship.
Why it’s important to send an email introducing yourself to a new mentor
While there are certainly benefits to becoming a mentor, the mentee typically has more to gain from the arrangement. Thus, it’s important to be gracious and put your best foot forward in the early days of getting to know one another.
You also want to set expectations from the start. Mentorships work best when both parties have a clear understanding of the goals. Mentors can provide more tailored guidance and make the right introductions when they know a mentee’s objectives. In contrast, mentees can benefit from establishing a structured schedule and regular communication cadence.
When should you send a mentor introduction email
When you’ve both agreed to mentorship
At this point, you should have already identified someone who has agreed to become your mentor (we discuss how to find a mentor in this post). This usually happens through a formal mentorship program or a mutual connection who has introduced you, though it can also happen organically.
When you’re ready to begin meeting
When you reach out to your intended mentor, you should be ready to commit to a regular schedule of meetings. They’re investing their valuable time to work with you, so you always want to respect that.
In a timely manner
Don’t leave your mentor hanging. You want to get the most from the relationship by kicking it off when the introduction is still fresh in both of your minds.
What to include in an introductory email to a mentor
Your name and a thank you
Begin with a formal introduction and a statement of your thanks for their participation.
Who connected you
Identify the person who gave you their name or the program via which you became connected.
What you’re hoping to gain from the mentorship
You’ll want to get clear on these objectives before sending the email. Some possible options include getting guidance on your career path, learning more about what they do, or building relationships in the industry.
Background about yourself
This should make up the bulk of your email. Tell the mentor about your educational path, any jobs you’ve held up until this point, and what motivates you to want to work in your desired field.
Your suggested next steps
Keep up the momentum by telling your mentor what you’d like to do to move forward, like setting up a meeting or Zoom call.
A warm closing
End with a professional salutation and the best way to contact you.
What you should omit
Too many requests
Though you do want to set clear goals for the mentorship, avoid peppering your email with multiple asks. Stick to a broad request and give the relationship time to develop before you ask for more favors.
Sample introductory email to a mentor
A mentor is just one of the most important people you’ll meet in your life, but with the right nurturing, a mentorship can become a relationship that will benefit you for the duration of your career.