There is a lot of pressure placed on young professionals about where they want to work and how quickly they want to progress. But it’s just as important to gain the necessary skills and experience over time to ultimately get your dream position. A good mentor can be an extremely valuable asset as you navigate the waters of your career. Seek out mentors who can offer insight, while helping you build your career skillset.
Identifying a mentor is very personal and important, so before you do, there are a few things to consider that may actually determine who it is you ask.
- Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses – The more you are honest with yourself from the beginning, the better your odds are of finding the right person – and getting the guidance you need.
- Define what you want – Before seeking out a mentor, write down your specific expectations and the role you want your mentor to play in your career.
- Look for a mentor inside and outside of the workplace – Your mentor doesn’t necessarily need to be a superior, in your department – or even in your company. Look into business organizations in the area – or within your own network. The important thing is to look for someone who exemplifies the traits and skills you want to adopt.
- Personality matters – Pursue a mentor who you feel will suit your personality best and will resonate with you. After all, you are spending valuable time with this individual.
- Make it happen – Once you have identified your ideal mentor, reach out to set up a formal meeting with them to review expectations and establish touch points to gauge progress (and ensure you are both getting the most out of the experience).
Throughout the process, be sure to embrace opportunities to take on more strategic responsibilities. Demonstrating a desire to take on new challenges – as well as a genuine interest in learning new skills (while putting what you have learned from your mentor into practice) – are desirable traits to have as you grow your career.
Finally, as you go through the process, be present, have patience and enjoy it. Stay focused and learn everything you can about your job, company and industry. Investing the time and effort now will result in a rewarding career path for you to enjoy in the years to come.
Want more advice? Speak with a KNF&T consultant who can offer insight into your career path, while sharing open entry-level and management positions that may be the right fit for you – today!