October 13, 2015 | 5 min read
How to Find a Professional Mentor

Tandym Group

A mentor is someone, usually in a position to which you aspire, who can be a guide to achieving similar success. It’s always a good idea to have someone to bounce ideas off of, but having an actual mentor can help you set career goals, prioritize tasks, and overcome challenges. Mentors can also be a great reference for future job searches. So how do you identify the right mentor for you? Follow these 3 simple steps to fast track your success in finding a mentor.

Step 1: Self-reflecting

In order to find the right mentor, it’s important to do a little self-reflection first. Ask yourself:

  • Where am I now in my career?
  • Where do I want to be?
  • What am I looking for out of a mentor?
  • What type of mentor would best suit me?

By asking yourself these questions, you’ll be better equipped to seek a mentor who can help you navigate your professional journey.

Step 2: Considering

Now that you know what you’re looking for from a mentor, it’s time to consider your possibilities. First, evaluate who you look up to professionally and ask yourself why you respect them. Is it their hard work? Their forward thinking? Perhaps you admire their stellar interpersonal skills? Now begin to evaluate those in your network of connections who possesses these skills, whether it is a supervisor, a former co-worker, or a family friend in a similar field as you.

Step 3: Asking

It’s important to understand that not everyone has the time to dedicate to mentoring, so when approaching someone you respect, you should also accept the possibility that they may decline. Reach out to your first choice via telephone or email to explain what you’re looking for out of a possible mentorship and why you believe a relationship with them would be mutually beneficial.

Keep in mind that there are many forms of mentoring such as ongoing email communication or monthly lunch meetings. Be clear with your potential mentor about what type of relationship you believe would work best for you, but remember that flexibility is key. They may be doing you a favor by squeezing you into their schedule, so keeping an open mind about their terms of the mentorship might be the difference between their willingness to accept and not.

If one of your options chooses to accept your proposition, remember to send them a thank you note detailing how you believe this mentorship will work out as well as your appreciation for their time and future guidance. If they decline, still send them a thank you note for their consideration. It’s also important to remember that your future mentor is a valuable addition to your network, so you should ways stay in touch and keep the relationship mutually beneficial by offering to help them in any way you can.



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