A career mentor is an experienced and knowledgeable individual or coach who guides a less experienced or less knowledgeable person in his/her quest to build a fulfilling and rewarding career. A career mentor can also serve as your checkmate to reaching your personal and career development milestones as well as attaining your career goals.
We live in a world of constant technological advances. In our field of work, one of the many questions that come up whenever we encourage career professionals to find mentors usually revolves around the issue of how to find a career professional and where to find them.
Searching and finding a career mentor for many professionals can be daunting; either because you are afraid of asking, not sure how to go about it or not knowing who to ask.
Tips to Help You Find a Career Mentor
In the lines that follow, we will share clear tips that will make it easier for you to find a career coach regardless of your area of specialisation.
Be Clear on Your Goals
Many fresh graduates or entry-level professionals make the mistake not being clear on what they need mentorship on before asking to be mentored. It’s important to define what you want and be clear about it; even if it is about being undecided or knowing what career path, be clear on it and how you communicate it.
Time is Money
This is sometimes, playfully expressed as ‘Time na money.’ This is pidgin English but when translated into proper English, it means ‘time is money.’ Time is of the essence to your mentors, hence, don’t be a time-waster. When you reach out with a request for mentoring, avoid being chatty, especially via social media DMs or chat applications.
Create Your List
Identify professionals in organisations, careers or industry of choice, make a list of them, follow them across their professional social media platforms and observe what you can learn about them.
Create a Relationship
Don’t reach out to total strangers or someone you are meeting for the first time with your request to have them as your mentor. It doesn’t work that way. Instead, you need to develop a relationship with them either via their social media, personal contacts; email, chats or phone call.
Attend Networking Events
Attend career networking events where you think these professionals or type of professionals you want to be mentored by would attend. Make your established first contact and stay in touch with them.
Make Your Request
After you have observed the professionals, narrow down your list to your best fit top 3-5 and make your request to be mentored. Communicate why you think they are the best fit to mentor you and state what personal goals you want to attain and during the mentorship. If you have skills that may be of use to them, communicate it as this is usually the proverbial icing on the cake.
Final Thoughts on Career mentors
There are some mistakes, you, however, need to avoid when seeking career mentors. One of such mistakes is constantly looking for people who are way older or advanced in the field. Another mistake you should avoid is focusing all your time and energy on a single prospective mentor. Don’t do this! You should avoid putting all your eggs in one basket