Regardless of where you are in the process of determining your future career, having a mentor can be a great resource that can help you navigate the murky waters of today’s job market, provide expert industry knowledge and insights, help expand your professional network, and serve as a role model.
You’re probably thinking, okay great, but how do I find a mentor? Here are some steps to get you started.
1) Define Your Purpose
Before seeking out a mentor determine what or why exactly you are seeking this person’s help. Do you need help outlining your career path, getting acclimated in a new position, or discuss industry trends?
2) Finding Potential Mentors
In an effort to find a mentor, connect with professional associations in your desired industry, faculty members, family and friends, community leaders, as well as the networks of colleagues from previous internships or jobs. Perhaps there is a professor you’ve already developed a strong relationship with who is willing to continue that relationship in a mentoring capacity after graduation. If you are interning with an organization, get to know your coworkers and see if any of them have the expertise and insight you are looking for.
3) Clarify Expectations
Setting clear expectations for your mentoring relationship is the first step towards building a meaningful mentorship. Make sure you share your purpose for seeking a mentor, and don’t forget to ask your mentor what he or she expects from you as a mentee.
4) Start Slowly
Before you approach a potential mentor, consider seeking input on a smaller projects or request advice on how to handle a specific situation. Pay attention to your interactions to make sure this would be a compatible mentorship relationship.
5) Communicate Your Gratitude
Demonstrate your gratitude by being mindful of your mentor’s time and showing up prepared. Be sure to communicate openly with your mentor about what’s working and what’s not; emphasize your appreciation for your mentor’s time and expertise. Always write thank you notes/emails after meetings to show your gratitude.