Starting out in a new career is difficult, and can be very intimidating. You want to advance quickly, and you want to do well, but maybe you’re not entirely sure how to do achieve the goals that you have in mind. A mentor is a person that can help you navigate your career. This is not a person who is going to tell you exactly what to do, but someone who will help you learn how to figure it out on your own. Finding the right mentor may seem like something else that is difficult and totally foreign to you, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are five simple tips to identify the right mentor for your needs.
- Formal Programs: The most obvious and simple way to find a mentor for your career is to utilize formal mentoring programs. A lot of businesses and corporations will offer formal mentoring programs. Ask around, and you will probably find one. If not, there are some online services that you can use to find a mentor, such as MicroMentor, or Score Mentoring. A mentor doesn’t always need to be someone that works in the same place that you do, though it does help.
- Identify Your Needs: If you don’t know what you need from your mentoring relationship, how is your mentor supposed to know? Knowing what you want from the relationship can actually help you find the right mentor for your specific needs. If you want to improve your networking skills, then look for someone who already has a large networking base available. If you want general guidance on how to move up in the business, look for someone who has successfully advanced to where you want to be.
- Let People Know You’re Looking: Just like dating, if you don’t tell anyone that you’re single and ready to mingle, you are far less likely to find a date. If no one knows that you’re looking for a professional mentor, then it can be harder to find one. Perhaps your boss would love to mentor you, but they don’t know that you’re in the market for that kind of relationship. Make yourself available.
- Take Notice of Mentoring Qualities: There are specific qualities that your mentor should have if you want the relationship to be successful. A mentor should be patient as a teacher, confident in their own career, experienced enough to provide you with the right advice, and straightforward enough that they will be able to critique your performance when necessary.
- Ask: Ask and you shall receive. There are cases where a mentor seeks out a mentee on their own, but if you are ready for a mentor right now and you don’t want to wait around for someone to take an interest in your career, then you need to be proactive and ask the person that you have in mind if they would be willing to be your mentor. Don’t expect them to be a mindreader while you drop subtle hints. Take charge of your own career.