If you feel stagnant in your career or you’re new to your industry and looking to fast-track your growth, finding a mentor is a step in the right direction. However, selecting the right person to lead you toward your mission and goals is not always simple and it’s important to be mindful of who you approach for guidance.
Benefits of Mentorship
- Self-awareness: Since your mentor will be able to view your approach to tasks with objectivity, they will be able to point out areas for potential improvement and advise you on how to better handle your responsibilities.
- Goal Setting: Although you may already have goals in place, a mentor will be able to help you discern whether they are realistic for the industry you work in, or whether there are any short-term goals you will need to strive towards before your long-term goals become achievable.
- Advocacy: If your mentor works within your organization, they’ll be able to vouch for your competence when you are up for a promotion. Mentors are usually individuals in leadership positions, so they may be able to guide you on what the management of the company is looking for and offer advice on how to put your best foot forward.
- Applications: You may be able to ask for tips on padding your resume with the relevant key attributes for your field so that you can make use of a free resume builder to show off your expertise in a polished, professional format.
Narrowing The Search
When selecting a mentor, accessibility is just as important as capability. You’ll need to ensure that both you and your mentor have the time to communicate on a regular basis.
Start by identifying individuals within your organization that you admire or that have achieved the things you are aspiring towards.
If you’re unable to find someone suitable in the workplace, move your search to LinkedIn, Facebook groups, or subreddits for your field. There are also a number of online mentoring platforms that could prove useful.
Once you have shortlisted potential mentors according to their professional achievements, consider their character traits and personal attributes. You’ll want to settle on someone with whom you can relate on both levels.
Asking For Mentorship
You’ll need to be prepared for the fact that, even if you have identified a seemingly ideal mentor, they may not be willing or able to commit to mentorship. Here are a few of the best ways to approach a potential mentor:
- Set up an in-person introductory meeting, as it allows you to build a strong interpersonal connection from the get-go. However, with advances in video conferencing technology, virtual meetings offer similar benefits and may often make it easier to schedule time with your mentor.
- Prepare to explain your aspirations and goals in a structured way. Be sure to mention your plan of action to achieve these goals, and demonstrate a clear understanding of why the goals you’ve chosen fit the desired trajectory of your career.
- Mention the things you admire about your mentor and describe why you feel that they would be the right person to guide you through your career.
- Lay out your expectations for the mentorship, including how often you’d like to meet and specific areas you would like them to guide you on. By doing this, your mentor will be able to determine whether they have the time and resources to commit to helping you.
A professional relationship with the right mentor is priceless, so it’s important to find a good fit from the start. Receiving the wrong guidance may cost you valuable time and cause an irreparable knock to your career, so be sure to put effort into building meaningful connections with professionals you admire before taking the first step towards mentorship.
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