ZagsConnect is Gonzaga’s virtual mentorship platform that connects Gonzaga alumni to students looking for career and networking assistance. Easy to use and with an intuitive interface, many students have found success in gaining valuable career advice. Today, we are featuring a current student mentee who has utilized ZagsConnect. Mila Yoch is a senior public relations major with a minor in digital marketing, who told us about her experience with mentorship on ZagsConnect.
What previous work experience have you had?
Mila: I currently work at Innovia Foundation, a nonprofit organization in Spokane as a Public Relations fellow. I have had a lot of jobs, and so I have also worked as the Media Manager for GSBA, as a Digital Editor for the Gonzaga Bulletin, some random jobs for student media, and a Communications Intern for the city of Palo Alto.
What field are you planning to go into?
Mila: I am planning to go into a form of Public Relations that centers around Digital Marketing. I also am interested in User Experience and User Interface design and am looking forward to continuing my education in those.
What mentors have you connected with?
Mila: Some of the mentors have included Casey Looker, Kelsey Mcginnis, Joseph Carvalo, Christian Conrad, and Lisa Bersani. I initially had to find one for a class, and the others had jobs I was interested in. I began working with all of them after the pandemic began, mostly because I was curious about how the industry was affected by the pandemic. I am more inclined to want to connect virtually as I am pretty busy, so meeting with people for coffee is difficult. It is nice to have a set zoom call without restrictions.
How did you initially reach out to your mentors?
Mila: I send them a general message saying, “Hi, I’m a senior at GU interested in the path you’ve taken and your day to day. Would it be possible to speak?” I like to send a very simple message. All of these have been through ZagsConnect, although I have sent a message through ZagsConnect and then connected with them through LinkedIn.
What has been the most valuable experience so far from your mentorship?
Mila: Really informative notes on what the working world has transformed into with covid-19 and how they have had to switch up their day to day lives. They have given me helpful tips on how to make the first steps into the working world and take the initial plunge. When I spoke with one mentor, they told me a different route of getting to work with a certain company. I looked into some subcontracting work they did which had been helpful. For another mentor I spoke with, he basically followed up asking for my resume and sent me some stuff like a job application to apply for his work.
What advice would you give to students looking for a mentor?
Mila: Reach out with clear intentions that you want to talk to them. Do not send a copy and paste email. Make sure it is very curated to the individual. Follow up with either a thank you email or a thank you letter and ask them for their address after they speak. They are taking their time out of their day to talk, so show your gratitude.
What questions should they be asking their mentors?
Mila: It depends on what you are seeking from the mentor, [and] what their day-to-day tasks would look like. A lot of people I reached out to had the same major and have positions I am interested in, so I wanted them to go through their tasks and let me know what the positions were like.
What was something unexpected that came from this experience?
Mila: I would say that I have made some interesting connections with some of these people through LinkedIn, and made even more connections through their connections. I was exposed to their networks and people, which gave me more networking experience.
I wanted to be confident about the world I was looking forward to applying to. I asked them, “What does your life look like with these careers?”
Network, stay connected, and put on your cover letter that you have spoken with them. It helps you confidently know that you are making the right decision in your career path.
Thanks to Mila for chatting with us about her experience as a mentee! Be sure to visit the blog next week, when we chat with a mentor!