Career assistance and guidance from a great employer, a helpful recruiter or a peer at work, can have a tremendous impact on your professional growth now and employment opportunities in the future. Those who really want to get ahead in their fields or who simply enjoy learning continuously may want to seek out and work with a mentor.
A mentor is defined as an advisor who is dependable and trustworthy. These individuals likely have significant experience and enjoy working with other people. They can be described as a guide of sorts, and some mentors naturally attract individuals who want to learn.
Finding the right mentor
It would be very helpful if mentors went around advertising their abilities and willingness to train and assist others, but this is not always the case. So, to start, you have to consider what you are looking for in a mentor before approaching a potential candidate. The Washington Post suggested that you write down your goals for learning
, envisioning where you want to be. If you can verbalize what you seek, it will be easier for you to recognize the right traits in the right person.
Have experience with mentors in the past? Look back to these relationships, the source added, and remember why they worked for you. Was it their personality? Did this previous mentor really push you to grow? Or were you constantly looking for something else? Then, assess your current situation and your strengths and weaknesses to see if the person with whom you collaborated before would still be able to help you improve on yourself. If so, look for a similar individual, but if not, analyze what you would need, and seek out a mentor who would take you to the next level.
Do your homework
A mentor may work in your company, or may be a person you met at a conference, saw give a talk, or who works in a different field. The Washington Post added that you should look them up on LinkedIn, for example, to see their professional expertise. It can also be wise to do a Google search on your potential mentor to see if they are working on any publications or have been recognized for their achievements. There is a chance that they may have a blog, and you might find it helpful to read this to get to know them a little bit better. This will enable you to ascertain if your selection is going to be right.
Remember, the relationship is reciprocal
Working with a mentor is not all take, you will be giving something back to them
, Entrepreneur noted. What you can do for your mentor is something you will need to consider before working with this person. Perhaps you are able to provide strong emotional support, or can share your ideas. You may also be able to give your mentor a window into technological or work-related advances that they may not have had when they were in your position, the source added. This information can be extremely valuable because it enables your mentor to keep learning as well.
A mentor can be an asset to your career journey and assist with your personal growth. However, this person is here to guide you, not solve all your problems, so you must be honest with yourself and your needs as well. Don't expect the world from a mentor, and be open to learning new things and your journey will be rewarding for you both.