How to Find a Mentor

If you're stumped on how to find a mentor, here are some ways to get one and get on the right career path.

How to Find a Mentor

Maybe you’re thinking of a complete career 180. Or perhaps you’re simply stuck in a job that you don’t love, but don’t know what your next steps should be, either. At some point during your career, you could probably use the help of a mentor. From giving guidance to connecting you with the right network of contacts, mentors can prove to be an valuable source of help for workers and job seekers alike. If you’re stumped on how to find a mentor, here are some ways to get one—and get on the right career path.

Address your needs.

Your first step in finding a mentor should be to ascertain why you want one in the first place. Is it that you need someone to connect you to key players in a new industry? Maybe you’ve been in your career field for some time and need to find the fun in it again. Or perhaps you’re considering returning to the workforce after a long absence. Determining what your needs are can help you as you search for someone to mentor you. That way, you don’t waste that person’s time—or yours.

Go through your contacts.

The easiest way to find a mentor is to take a walk down your (career) memory lane. Think back to previous work experiences; maybe you had an amazing boss who has since gone on to do great things in your industry, or perhaps your friend knows of someone who would be the ideal candidate to help you. Think outside the box. A mentor doesn’t always have to be the CEO of the company you wish you worked for. After all, you can find inspiration, motivation, and guidance anywhere.

Set up interviews.

If you have your eye set on a few people who you think could be a great mentor for you, you should reach out to them. Set up an informational interview instead of asking him or her outright. Let them know that you’ve been following their career and would love to talk with them about their career and the company that they work for. If the company is local, you can always sweeten the deal by inviting them out to lunch.

Prove your worth.

Once you’ve determined the person you would like to mentor you, it’s time to sell yourself—literally. Some people may view taking on a mentee as a chore or an extra responsibility, so it’s up to you to show your mentor-to-be what you can offer them. Maybe you can help the mentor in some aspect of his job, or provide expert advice on special matters. By not being a burden to your mentor, you’re making it a mutually beneficial relationship.

Keep it light.

Just because the person has agreed to be your mentor doesn’t mean that you can call or email your mentor all the time. You still need to be super respectful of their time and talent. That’s why it’s crucial to keep your interactions light, brief, and fun. You want your mentor to like you and look forward to your interactions, not dread them. And above all, always show your gratitude for the person’s mentorship and leadership. Perhaps one day you can do the same for someone else who needs a mentor!

Having a mentor can prove to be extremely beneficial for both you as the mentee and your mentor as well. Not only can a mentor show you how your mom skills can help your job search, but he can also help you ascertain what your career really should be. In turn, you can provide assistance and advice, turning a mentorship into something far more valuable—a professional friendship, too.

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