Have you ever admired someone else’s career? Maybe they have your dream job, or a permutation of it, but you’re wondering how the heck to end up there yourself. It’s possible you have many pieces of the career puzzle already in place, but you still need assistance. That’s where having a mentor/mentee relationship could come into play. Learn more about it below.
The role of a mentor
A mentor is someone who provides unbiased perspective, advice, and guidance in your career development. They can help you fine-tune your hard and soft skills and will both encourage your progress and provide constructive feedback. They’re often a useful resource in identifying skill gaps.
Typically, they have more years of experience than you and are often at later stages in their career, but this isn’t always the case. The guidelines for a mentor are often flexible and can be catered specifically for your career needs.
How to find and choose a mentor
There are several different avenues for finding a mentor. Some companies offer mentorship programs to internal employees. If not, or if it’s not quite what you’re looking for, you can still seek out a mentor at your workplace. Before doing so, consider company culture and if asking someone to mentor you aligns with the company values.
Sometimes mentorships evolve organically. You might find yourself going back to the same person for advice, guidance, and career questions, in which case, the dynamics of a mentor/mentee relationship have already started to form.
You can also have more than one mentor. People from different industries, or even the same, can offer you guidance that someone else lacks, all depending on their specialized skills, areas of expertise, and overall workforce experience.
When choosing a mentor, ask yourself why you want advisement from a specific person. What do you hope they can bring to your professional development?
Preparing to work with a mentor
You’ll want to go into the relationship with some things already determined. For instance, what are your goals? You don’t need to have every step laid out, but a broad picture of what you want to accomplish, and the direction you want your career to take, will help you and mentor with a place to start. Additionally, consider your industry. If you work in finance, is there certain accounting software you need to keep up with? Does your mentor know about industry trends?
Bringing some ideas to the table when meeting with your mentor will show your own personal investment in your future.
Remember, the journey of working with a mentor is an effort to better your own career. You don’t have to become your mentor—maintain your individuality while learning from someone more experienced in their career.
Mentors aren’t responsible for everything
There are limitations to the role a mentor can play in your career development. Even with the guidance of an experienced professional, the hard work and any required action still falls on you. A mentor can point out areas in need of professional improvement, but they can’t fix anything for you.
You can visit a no-cost Goodwill Career Center and ask a career advisor for assistance with job needs. Call 602-535-4444 to find a career center near you or visit our locations page. Good luck with your job search!
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