You’ve put in the hours, you’ve polished the resume, you’ve hit up the networking sessions, but there’s one thing you’re missing: mentors! Having a good mentor can be an invaluable way to help you meet your goals, both professional and personal, so it’s important to identify people who can serve in the role.
Here are our top reasons for why you should have mentors, and where you can find a great one in order to help you achieve your ambitions.
It’s easy to get stuck in our own heads, especially during the routine of the workday. Having a mentor gives you someone who can offer additional perspective, as well as share his or her experiences for you to learn from. It can be helpful to remember that everyone faces challenges and roadblocks as they grow their careers — difficulties won’t set you back, but how you deal with them might. Mentors can help you see the bigger picture, and learning about their personal stories can give you the confidence to fight for what you want.
Ideally, your expert will be a leader in your field. They’ll be well connected in the industry that matters to you — meaning they can introduce you to their contacts, and can even offer up your name for promotions and new positions that they hear about. To develop this kind of trust and relationship, prove that you’re a hard worker who will go above and beyond. Be a critical thinker who is willing to absorb information, adapt and apply said info.
If you feel like you’re stuck in a workplace rut, a mentor can offer tips for enhancing your productivity and organization. Learn how the best in their field continue to find incentives and work to make their ambitions into realities. You can also ask your mentor to hold you accountable to meet certain goals or deadlines — regular check-ins about your progress can give you the motivation you need to hit targets.
Not all mentors are created equal — you want someone who is going to offer meaningful advice and be a good support system. But finding a good one isn’t necessarily the difficult part, as anyone with a lot of experience can fill that mentor role you’re looking for. While it’s tempting to reach out to one of your idols over email and ask them to mentor you, that would be breaking one of the biggest rules of securing a mentoring relationship — don’t ask a stranger!
This doesn’t mean that you have to stick with just whom you know; if you have someone in mind, make sure to engage him or her. Tweet, share their articles or comment via Linkedin and start managing those professional relationships based on something they’ve posted. Finally, be sure that it’s a good fit for you. Just because someone is successful doesn’t mean that he or she is going to be the perfect mentor for you.
Above all, when searching for a mentor, remember to prove your worth. They’re likely getting requests from others, so you want to prove you’re someone worth their time and emotional investment. Prepare for your meetings with them — like, at work, ask for more responsibility and assignments — and show new and meaningful ways in which you can contribute. Be respectful, flexible, eager and positive, and you’ll have the best mentors for you.
Lead image via Getty
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