Mentee: Sarah Hopkins, E A Shaw
Mentor: Jane Wright, University of Westminster
Sarah Hopkins, a graduate Surveyor at E A Shaw, was a regional finalist in the Women in Property National Student Awards. She was mentored by Jane Wright when she was seeking a job after graduation.
"I had heard good things about Mentoring through Women in Property so took up the opportunity of attending a course. At that time I had graduated from Kingston but, as it has been such a difficult time in the market, I was struggling more than I expected to get a job. What I really needed was advice on how to take my career forward when, to me, it looked like it was going nowhere.
"Jane helped me a lot. I was feeling low and de-motivated and alongside practical tips, she gave me the best, simplest advice - be positive and smile more! She helped me understand that I wasn't giving the right impression but, with some positive thinking, I would see a real difference. It worked, everything turned around, professionally and personally. In just three or four weeks I was getting good feedback from job applications and I am now very happy to be working with E A Shaw. I would definitely like to continue the mentoring, now looking at the wider professional and career issues. I'm also recommending the smiling to all my friends!"
Jane Wright is Head of Property & Construction at the University of Westminster. She became involved with Women in Property through the National Student Awards.
"My introduction to mentoring was via a Women in Property training session which was very informative and interesting, I was really glad I did it. Nevertheless I was actually quite surprised when Sarah contacted me asking whether I would be her mentor as I wasn't convinced I'd have enough to offer her. Part of my doubt was because one of Sarah's main objectives, being a recent graduate, was to find a job which is tough enough at the best of times, let alone in a difficult market - I wasn't sure what difference I could make. I needn't have worried. We had a long discussion when we assessed her aims and ambitions and I suggested a number of pointers and initiatives that might help.
"For example, the University of Westminster runs free 'Build Up' courses specifically for people who are unemployed . Sarah did one session and found it very helpful and positive. Sarah has since got a job as a graduate surveyor with EA Shaw which she started recently. Her first target has been met so now we have an open relationship when she can call me for advice and to mull over any issues. As for me, it has actually been great for my confidence too as I realise I have more to offer than perhaps I'd given myself credit for!"