Our professional environment and careers play a key role in deciding the kind of life we live. You put in a lot of work to excel in your career, but there is one thing that’s easier and bears more fruit: finding an ideal career mentor.
Pushing your career path forward can be both exciting and anxiety-inducing, and rightly so. This is a major part of a person’s life and having a seasoned vet in your corner helping you along the way can make all the difference.
Fortunately, the presence of career mentors and their guidance helps many newbies and even experienced professionals boost their careers.
To help you navigate through the process of finding a mentor and benefiting from the mentor-mentee relationship, we’ve put together this guide.
Who is a career mentor?
A career mentor is someone who guides you through your career path. They are usually more experienced and have gained more expertise in their respective fields.
They share personal tips, hacks and useful skillsets that they have acquired over time, as well as coach you about goal setting, and other career-related dos and don’ts.
What does a career mentor do?
The role of a career mentor is varied. It ranges from simply advising on various tasks to guiding about projects and setting expectations for their protégé.
The relationship between a mentor and mentee is unique and their particular roles will be based off the final objective of the mentorship.
In general, a career mentor does the following to help their protégé:
- Develops trust and confidentiality between the two.
- Shares their own career experiences.
- Focuses on developing the mentee’s skills to make them capable of solving their own problems.
- Listens to the mentee and provides unbiased opinions.
- Offers critical and honest insight into the mentee’s progress.
- Encourages the mentee to have confidence in themselves.
Do you need a career mentor?
Having a career mentor has become a staple in many corporate settings. It helps acquaint newcomers with their work and performance expectations.
New candidates who have a career mentor to guide them through their tasks have a definite advantage over those who don’t.
Additionally, every corporate amateur should first ask themselves two important questions:
- Would asking for guidance help me achieve the professional goal I’ve set for myself?
- Are there some areas that I need to improve and new skills that I can acquire from a mentor?
If your answer to both the questions was ”Yes”, you should start your search for a mentorship.
How to find one
Career mentors are usually the more experienced and older professionals in the office. If you’re looking for a mentor, chances are you’ll have to reach out to one on your own.
However, a prospective mentor may be closer than you realize.
Many professionals are very receptive to mentorship requests, and you can find one by:
- Asking a senior member or supervisor you trust and idealize.
- Reaching out to a more experienced peer.
- Approaching an expert from an online circle.
- Joining a mentorship group or community.
Mentorship comes in many forms, and it does not always have to be the traditional relationship between an office senior and junior.
You can find a mentor in your friends who work in the same field, a teacher, or even a former boss.
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Benefits of having a career mentor
Besides sharing their knowledge, career mentors help you in several ways:
- You gain real-life skills and leadership qualities.
- Settling into a new professional environment becomes easier.
- Self-satisfaction and pride for the work you deliver.
- Development of your all-around personality.
- Becoming capable enough to solve your own problems and reach your goals.
- Gaining contacts and entry into your mentor’s professional circle.
Maintaining and making the most of your career mentorship
A successful mentorship is a two-way street. Maintaining a healthy relationship with your mentor translates to the mentee giving their all to this setup. In return, the mentor also helps the protégé with genuine guidance.
It’s important to promote effective communication and investing effort in this learning opportunity. To make the most of your career mentorship, be realistic about your career goals and expectations.
What you can learn from the mentor and how to use the provided insights
When a person agrees to be a mentor, they have already agreed to work selflessly for the benefit of another.
Their efforts will be sincere, and they’ll try to pass on every bit of their expertise and knowledge to the person they’re mentoring. What you learn from a mentorship depends on who your mentor is and what you seek to learn.
You will learn every skill required to reach the mentor’s own professional level and more. A mentor also gives feedback on your performance.
All insight is positive and helps in boosting your confidence and creating a stronger work ethic. An honest critique of your work should be viewed as a steppingstone to improvement.
Many people attribute their accomplishments to having an ideal career mentor at the right point in their careers. The benefits of having a mentor to guide you on your career path will help you achieve the many goals you set.