FEB. 15, 2017:
Last week, we discussed the importance of mentors to career development. This week, we get personal, and we’ll talk about how you can go about finding the right mentor for you and your career. Personality and drive are key attributes, but they differ from person to person, so it is imperative you find a mentor with similar characteristics and lifetime goals. Keep reading for a step-by-step guide to finding your perfect mentor match.
You can find a mentor at any stage in your career, but it’s best to start early, at the college or even high school level. This doesn’t mean that you have to keep the same mentor for your entire career, but getting used to this type of relationship in your life can be very beneficial in the long run.
The best place to source a mentor is to ask family, friends and work connections. Look for someone whose career path you admire, or perhaps someone who is part of an industry that you wish to join.
Be a joiner
If a basic inventory of friends, family and co-workers doesn’t yield any results, joining industry networks is a great next step. National women in business groups or female entrepreneur groups have chapters all over the country and they regularly meet for networking drinks and other workshops. These events are amazing opportunities to meet people.
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Once you have a target mentor in mind, start your relationship small. Don’t just come out and ask “Will you be my mentor?” to someone you barely know. Start an email exchange and then ask them to get lunch or coffee to discuss their career path. It’s important that this is a two-sided relationship, not just something beneficial to you.
Make the ask
When you feel like it’s the right fit, asking an official “Will you be my mentor?” will solidify the relationship. Most people will be flattered by the ask, and if you’ve already put in the appropriate amount of time, they should expect it.
Nurture the relationship
As mentioned previously, mentorship is a two-sided relationship and both parties should be nurtured by it. Make sure you are not asking too much of your mentor or only seeking them out when you need advice or a favor. Ask yourself how you can help them in their career development as well.
Do you have a mentor? Share your experience in the comments!
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