Having a mentor can help you navigate your career effectively in dealing with politics in the workplace, evaluating job options, and deciding on the right career path. Mentoring is associated with positive outcomes, including skill development and career success. A mentor can provide an an outside opinion on short-term and long-term goals that affect your career and development. Since most executives and professionals understand the value of having a mentor, why don’t they have one? It’s simply because they do not know how to find a quality mentor.
We live in a time where it seems as though we’re hyper-connected. Everyone has an online network, and most people have connections on multiple social media platforms. Despite having all this access, many professionals have never felt more alone. They are craving meaningful conversations and interactions to help them find career success. This is where having a mentor can be the most helpful. Here are four ways you can find your next mentor!
Your Current or Last Job
One of the best ways to find a mentor is within your current company if you’re employed. You already have connections to these people, and they might know you or become acquainted easily. When looking for a mentor, this level of familiarity is essential. Many professionals who would consider mentoring want to know that you are a serious professional with potential, so they are not wasting their time.
If you don’t particularly like the company you work for or aren’t employed, consider looking for a mentor at your last place of employment. You may feel more comfortable discussing your career with someone who is not working at the same company. A good alternative would be a person who is working in a position, field, or department that is similar to your ideal job role.
Professional Networking Events
What professional groups are you a member of? If you are not a member of any networks, now is the time to visit some in your area. Most states have associations and non-profit organizations specifically geared towards your industry. You can often find leaders in academia, private sectors, research institutions, and government that are members of these associations.
Attending professional networking events allows you to establish more credibility, improve the quality of your network, and learn relevant information pertaining to your industry. Building relationships with other attendees and members can be helpful to your career. You can start a conversation with a potential mentor in a network and then follow up, asking them to have an informational interview.
Staying active in alumni events associated with your alma mater can also be helpful in finding a mentor. You can attend alumni career fairs, go to alumni fundraising events, and join meetup groups to watch sporting events. Placing yourself in close proximity to other alumni is your primary goal. Alumni groups let you expand your network and include others who graduated when and after you did.
Most alumni are interested in helping fellows who also graduated from their college or university. Many universities encourage mentorship amongst alumni, so it’s a good idea to see if your college or university already has a mentoring program in place that you can participate in. If there isn’t one, you may take the initiative and approach another alum about the possibility of mentorship.
Your Online Network
Executives or professionals who you know moderately well or have met in person usually make the best mentors because people tend to feel more attached to your success in these situations. However, if you can not find anyone that is within those categories, then checking your online network is a viable option. LinkedIn is a fantastic place to view someone’s experience, qualifications, and background. They also offer suggestions on others you could connect with based on your current network and industry. You may find a potential mentor organically with this method.
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