As you grow in your career, finding someone to go to for advice and to bounce ideas off is essential. Having a mentor that challenges you, causes you to think, and helps you to progress can be the difference in setting a successful career path. But finding the RIGHT mentor is much more difficult than asking your boss for advice. So when you’re searching for a mentor, consider these 5 tips:
1. Find someone you respect
Look to those around you that you respect professionally and personally. Look for someone that shares your drive, passion, and career interests so their advice is more relevant to you. If someone is where you want to be in the future and has displayed success, try to understand how they got there and what worked well for them.
2. Mentorships don’t need to be formal
A mentor should be someone you can go to at any time for a simple chat or for a deep conversation. A quick meeting over coffee or over lunch can be all you need to reenergize after a questionable week or to fine-tune a new idea.
3. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
Look for several mentors at different stages in their careers so you can see your situation from multiple perspectives as you carve out your path. Having access to unique perspectives is extremely valuable. A mentor can also be at your same peer level as someone that you can share information with and learn from as you both grow.
4. Make the most of their time
Realize the value of your mentor’s time and make the most out of it. Plan topics or questions you want to discuss in advance. If you ask good questions, you will get honest answers and solid feedback.
5. Realize the relationship goes both ways
You may be younger in your career, but your questions can make your mentor think. You may be going to them for advice, but there may come a time where your mentor reaches out to you for a favor. This is where you earn and build your rapport. If you selflessly help someone, this “karma” often comes back around.
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