Beginning a career right after college can feel overwhelming and nerve-wracking. We understand! But having a mentor in your field can really help ease the stress and help you acclimate to the new environment. Remember that you need to be proactive with your mentor to get the most out of the relationship. We have some tips on developing strong mentoring relationships no matter where you are in your career.
The Importance of Having a Mentor
Imagine having someone to bounce ideas off of, to answer questions, someone who knows your industry and can offer feedback to help you grow. That is a mentor. The right mentor relationship can be a powerful tool for professional development and growth. Having someone in your corner builds career confidence.
Multiple Mentors for Multiple Things
Having more than one mentor gives you multiple perspectives, and they can offer advice on many different areas of expertise. It is great to have a mentor in your workplace who understands the company. Then having someone who has been in the industry for a long time and doesn’t work with you can offer a different perspective. Maybe you have a female mentor as well as a male mentor. Learn from someone who came from a different background than you.
Set Clear Goals
Before you can find the right mentor, it’s important to know your personal goals and where you want your career to take you. Remember to use the goal-setting method SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timebound. Write out short and long-term goals 5, 10, and 15 years into the future. These are not finite, goals change over time as you develop in your career.
How To Ask Someone To Be Your Mentor
Congratulations, you found someone who would make a great mentor! Now, how do you ask them? If this is a person you don’t know, send them an email to introduce yourself. If one of your contacts knows the person, ask to be introduced. Once you are ready to reach out, ask if you can take them out for coffee or lunch and ask some questions, and pay for the meal. If you’re not able to meet in person, a video call works too. People generally love being asked for advice, and they love talking about themselves. Listen and take notes! From there, determine if this feels like a good fit, and make the ask.
Set a consistent time to meet. Have your mentor help you set goals that you can achieve in the next 3 months, and discuss future goals. Having someone to guide you while reaching smaller goals will help keep you motivated and stay accountable. And remember, a mentorship can grow and develop, and you may find new mentors as you move along in your career.
Be coachable. Remember that you are in this relationship to learn and grow. Listen to feedback, and accept compliments! Sometimes it feels strange to just say “thank you” when someone compliments you, but its important to receive constructive feedback too, it builds confidence.
Make an agenda for meeting with your mentor so that you can stay on task, get what you need from them and respect their time. This also helps hold you accountable for your goals. Ask questions and provide updates on how you’re progressing toward your goals. Also, remember that your mentor is human, ask them about their experience and learn from them. We wish you well on your journey to finding the right mentor and making the most of your career. You’ve got this!