CareerVillage Articles

Pro Tips for Stellar Advice

ProTip #1: Be inclusive and avoid bias

Provide complete, inclusive, and culturally responsive answers to questions, even if they are open-ended, challenging, or unusual. Avoid using language that is exclusionary or discriminatory. 

For example, instead of saying, “You have to be highly logical and analytical to be a programmer,” you could say, “Programmers need to be able to think logically and analytically in order to solve problems.” This avoids making assumptions about the abilities of certain groups of people.

ProTip #2: Be direct 

Consider all learners’ experiences and backgrounds, and avoid long tangents that do not address the question. Once you’ve written your answer, go back to ensure that your advice is actually answering the question being asked. 

ProTip #3: Anticipate needs 

Anticipate what learners need to learn next and answer questions they didn’t know they had. Put yourself in the learner’s shoes and imagine what you wish you had known when you were their age and what would have helped you be successful in this situation. In other words, think ahead to what a learner will need to do next. 

ProTip #4: Tell a personal story that is relevant and relatable.

Your personal experience is your most valuable tool in mentoring learners. Writing about your experiences can impact learners’ choices, provide a better perspective, and help prepare them for the future. Share stories relevant to all learners, and avoid sharing stories that could be triggering or insensitive to specific groups of people. Try to connect your story to challenges other learners may face, such as imposter syndrome.

ProTip #5: Recommend next steps that are accessible for all learners

Giving learners next-step recommendations gives them a clear idea of what to do next. Be sure to recommend resources and opportunities that are accessible to all learners, regardless of their background or circumstances. For example, if you recommend a specific coding boot camp that is expensive and located in a major city, you should also try to recommend a free online coding course or other free and low-cost resources that are available to learners all over the world. In addition, try to include a mix of goals with varying time frames. 

For instance, if a learner asks about how to learn to code, you can suggest watching YouTube videos (short term), enrolling in a free online course (medium term), and going to college for a degree (long term). 

ProTip #6: Use facts, cite sources, and avoid plagiarism

Unless a learner is asking for opinions, make sure the information you share with learners is accurate. Show your credibility by citing sources and avoiding plagiarism. Be sure to credit the original authors of any ideas or information you share. This is important for respecting the work of others and also helpful for learners to be able to view your sources and use them as the basis for further career research. 

For example: “According to the O*Net website, the salary of a nurse is …” 

ProTip #7: Strike the right tone

When writing to a learner, keep your tone positive and supportive. Be respectful of the learner’s identity and experiences. Avoid using language that is condescending, judgmental, or based on assumptions. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be truthful, but be mindful to share your truth while being encouraging. 

For instance, instead of saying, “I have to be honest with you, becoming a K-pop star is impossible,” frame it as “Going down this road will be very difficult but not impossible.”

ProTip #8: Make your answer easy to read.

Making your answer easy to read allows learners to quickly absorb and learn from your information. This is especially important for English language learners and learners with disabilities. One example of this is breaking up long paragraphs into shorter ones. Our AI answer enhancer feature can be used to enhance your answers in this way!