How To Find A Career Mentor

A professional mentor can provide guidance and wisdom that significantly benefits your career. This person does not need to be in the same field! You only want someone with experience in the professional world to coach you in your career path. But how do you know who is going to be the right mentor for you? Today we’re sharing how to find a career mentor from where to look to who you should choose.

Where to look 

There are a multitude of places to look for career mentors. This includes older alumni from your alma mater(s), neighbors, other members of your church, or other community organizations. You would be surprised at how many people are willing to help someone out and share knowledge from their professional experiences. In general, it is best to avoid asking someone you work with to be your mentor. Mentorship from current coworkers can muddy the waters, so look outside your current organization!

How to look

The internet provides plenty of resources for finding a mentor. The most effective social media site to discover a mentor is LinkedIn. Search for people in your area with experience in similar fields to what you are pursuing. Using university pages, you can search by degree and find other people on LinkedIn that graduated in the same area of study. Check with your alumni resources at your previous places of education, whether high school, college, trade school, or grad school.

Most importantly, speak with people you know and with whom you are already connected. Did you have a professor you respected in college? Did a friend’s family member always seem to make wise career choices? Reach out to these people and ask for a mentor-mentee relationship!

Who to choose

How do you know that you are choosing the right mentor? It is essential to choose someone who can help you specifically in your career path. If part of your identity is underrepresented in your field, find someone who is also a part of your demographic in that field (i.e., Women in STEM). They can speak to that specific experience and guide you in ways to stand out from the typical person in that field. A mentor-mentee relationship does not (by any means!) have to be lifelong. Sometimes it only lasts a few months. It is ok to work with someone and realize it’s not a great fit. Find someone you are comfortable with who can maintain a professional relationship with you while guiding you in our goals.

If you’re ready to contact someone, check out this NPR article about how to seek someone out, ask them to mentor you, and keep it professional.

5 Ways to Grow Your Career in 2021

A new year is symbolic of a fresh start or for establishing healthy habits. Many people use this time as an opportunity to reflect on their careers and understand where they are and where they would like to be. Doing this under our current economic climate can be intimidating. However, even if you feel discouraged, there’s never a wrong time to advance your career trajectory. Here are five ways to grow your career in 2021.

Establish your career goals

If you want to grow your career in 2021, the first thing you must do is establish your goals. If you want to improve your career prospects or make yourself a more valuable employee, you have to set goals to get you where you want to be. Are you looking to add a new skill? Do you want to grow into your leadership role? Regardless of what you want to achieve, you must set SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound).

Seek mentorship

Once you have your goals set, you should seek mentorship. Find a mentor that you can trust, one that can offer feedback and support to help grow your career. Reach out to them and ask them if they are willing to guide you, offer advice, and be honest with you. One of the keys to a successful mentorship is it has to be a mutual relationship. In other words, this person has to want to mentor you. Otherwise, it won’t be an effective mentorship relationship.

If you are looking for advice on being a more coachable employee, we recently wrote a blog on that!

Hone new skills or strengthen current ones

Another great way to reach these goals is to hone new skills or sharpen skills you already have. Identify if there are any skill sets, tools, or techniques to help you achieve your career goals this year. Once you understand what these skills are, you can work on improving them. Take online courses, watch how-to videos on YouTube, or attend webinars. Actively working on skills that will help you take your career to the next level will make you marketable, improve your career prospects, and make you a more valuable employee.

Here are three must-have skills to help you grow your career in 2021.

Regularly track your progress

After you know what you want to accomplish and how you will do it, set milestones; write these milestones down and regularly track your progress toward completing them. This will help you stay on track and remain focused on these career goals throughout the year. Tracking your progress is part of setting SMART goals because your goals should be attainable. If they are achievable, you can track your progress, and you can check-in with yourself and your mentor.

Celebrate your wins

Many people forget to celebrate their wins, even if they are small. When you are tracking your progress, and you complete one of these milestones, take a moment to celebrate! Pat yourself on the back and reflect on all of your hard work! Share these wins with your mentor, too, as they should be equally invested in your success. Celebrating your wins will make this journey more rewarding, and you will appreciate your growth.