Are you feeling unsure about your career choices and your personal development? Maybe you’re ready to take the next step, but you’re not sure what that step should be. Perhaps you want to learn from the experience of someone successful in your industry. In each of these situations (and many more), a career mentor could be what you are looking for…
What is a career mentor?
A career mentor is an experienced professional who provides guidance, advice, and support to someone who is seeking career development and growth. A mentor typically shares their knowledge and expertise to help the mentee (you) develop the skills and abilities necessary to succeed in their chosen career. They could be someone in your own company or someone you admire who has found success in your industry or a related one.
Some companies offer a formal mentorship scheme, but if you don’t have access to one, it’s worth the effort of finding a mentor for yourself. Here are just some of the main benefits a mentor can bring to your career:
Benefits of having a career mentor
A career mentor can help a mentee in various ways, such as:
Providing career advice: A mentor can help the mentee navigate their career path by sharing insights, tips, and strategies for success.
Sharing industry knowledge: A mentor can provide information about the industry, including trends, opportunities, and challenges.
Access to opportunities: A mentor can let you know about opportunities before they reach the open market, introduce you to important people or provide insider information about your industry.
Offering feedback: A mentor can provide constructive feedback on the mentee’s work and offer suggestions for improvement.
Helping you stay focussed: A career mentor can help you set career goals and stick to them.
Focusing on the bigger picture: A mentor can help you take a step back and see your career as a whole, as well as challenge you to take a more critical approach to your professional development.
Building a network: A mentor can introduce you to people in the industry and help you build a professional network, something which could benefit your career for years to come.
How to find a career mentor
Before you start looking for a mentor, it’s essential to know what you want to achieve in your career and the areas in which you want to develop your skills. Be clear about what you are looking for in a mentor: When you approach someone to be your mentor, be clear about what you hope to gain from the relationship and how often you would like to meet.
To find the ideal mentor, you should firstly aim to network with professionals in your industry. Attend industry conferences, seminars, and networking events to meet professionals in your field. This will allow you to learn more about different career paths and find potential mentors. Also, think how you can utilise online platforms – LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media, to connect with professionals in your industry.
Secondly, look within your current network: Consider reaching out to people in your current network who may be able to offer guidance and support. This could include former bosses, colleagues, and of course, your alumni association! The alumni group gives you access to a network of former students, many of whom have gone on to find great success in their industries.
You could post a discussion on your Alumni LinkedIn group saying you’re interested in talking with people working in your industry. Alternatively, explore the profiles of your fellow Alumni LinkedIn group members and see if there is anyone whose career you admire. Ask them a question via InMail and see if anyone has any valuable advice they can share.
A final word of advice: When you approach a potential mentor, keep in mind that finding a mentor is a two-way street. You should be willing to invest time and effort in the relationship to make it a success. Good luck!