Why You Need a Mentor (and how to find one)

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Everyone needs a little help climbing the career ladder, which is why having the right mentor so important. No matter where you are in your career, having someone to give you advice is always a welcome thing. A mentor won’t just help you weigh the pros and cons of big career moves, they can advise you on the little things that matter on your path.

Who Makes A Good Mentor?

You are looking to your mentor to help you become more successful, so it stands to reason that you should look for people who have already achieved success themselves. The mentor/protégé relationship is built on great communication, so your mentor should be somebody with whom you can communicate easily. Your mentor should be somebody who will listen to you so that they can fully hear and understand your goals and challenges so the advice they dispense is relevant. It can also help to find somebody with similar values, so think about what’s important to you and find people who have demonstrated that is important to them as well. Most important, your mentor must be somebody who wants to help. They will be investing time into your success, and so you need to find somebody who cares about you enough to make that investment.

Finding Mentors within Your Current Company

There are likely people at your own company that you admire and respect, and whether it’s a manager, a higher-up in another department, or even the company owner, they are typically happy to dispense advice. Even if you never gave them the tag of “mentor,” they may already be guiding you on your career path. The great thing about having a mentor at your office is that they work with you regularly, so they have experience with your strength and weaknesses. They also know the company and can give you actionable advice on how to move up the ladder. While they  may not be the right person to talk to if you are looking to make a move outside of the company, when it comes to getting the most out of your current job, they can be a great asset. It’s also worth noting that many companies have a formal mentorship program, meaning that they can set you up with a senior employee within the company who can help guide you.

When Looking Outside Of The Company, Consider Your Options

Social media sites like LinkedIn are great for finding mentors. If you have a connection in mind that you would like to talk to about your career path, all you have to do is send them a brief message asking for their input. While some may be too busy to become a full-time mentor, many will be happy to expand the conversation to e-mail or phone. Networking groups are also great places to find mentors, as are conferences and career seminars. Hiring Advisors from staffing companies like AppleOne can also be a great source of mentorship, as they are experts at guiding people on their career path on a daily basis. Remember, it’s fine to have multiple mentors, especially if they can give you different experiences to pull from.

Look for the next article in our series on how to approach a mentor and develop the relationship.

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