4 Places to Find a Mentor
These days, everyone seems to agree that having a mentor (or three, or five) is crucial to your career growth. But despite all the talk about the importance of mentorship, there isn’t a ton of advice on how to actually create these relationships.
Where should you look? How do you approach potential mentors? Luckily, we’ve got the answers.
Source #1: Work
Some companies offer formal mentorship programs. If yours is one of them, you should absolutely take part. These programs are a great way to grow closer to another team member, share knowledge, and create a more unified workplace.
What if your office doesn’t have a program? Well, in that case you have two options. First, you can propose a mentorship initiative to your boss (or the relevant executive). Not only will you be demonstrating thought leadership, you’ll also have a positive impact on your company.
The second option is more low-key; we suggest that you independently find a mentor at work. After you identify someone you think could teach you a lot, try inviting them to lunch once or twice a month and asking for their opinion and guidance. A mentorship should develop organically.
Source #2: Your industry
You can also find fantastic mentors within your field or profession. Look for them at networking events, conferences, meet-ups—basically, any gathering that’s designed to bring together the people with your specific expertise.
The majority of professionals at these events are going to form connections, which is super helpful when you’re looking for potential mentors. After meeting someone you click with, shoot them an email saying, “Do you want to go grab coffee? I’d love to hear your thoughts on (topic)!”
From that first meeting, you can form a mutually beneficial relationship.
Source #3: Your family
Family members can be great mentors. After all, they usually know you pretty well and they’ll be flattered by your requests for help.
And note that your mentor doesn’t have to be older than you. Maybe you have a niece in college who could be the perfect person to clue you in to what Millennial employees value. Or you may have a cousin who’s years younger than you who can keep you up to date on social media and technology trends.
On the flip side, your senior relatives can be invaluable, as well. The benefit of asking, say, your grandfather for advice is that he’s got plenty of life experience.
Source #4: Online
These days, it seems you can find just about anything on the web—including a mentor. First, we recommend joining online communities, including LinkedIn groups, Lean In circles, Levo communities, and so forth. There’s a community for every profession or niche, so you should be able to find at least one option you like.
Post regularly and engage with the other members. It shouldn’t take long to identify other users who have a lot of knowledge to offer you (and vice versa); once you come across them, you can ask to get their advice via email, Skype, a phone call or, if you live nearby, a coffee date.
About Signature Consultants, LLC
Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Signature Consultants was established in 1997 with a singular focus: to provide clients and consultants with superior staffing solutions. For the seventh consecutive year, Signature was voted as one of the “Best Staffing Firms to Work For” and is now the 14th largest IT staffing firm in the United States (source: Staffing Industry Analysts). With 26 locations throughout North America, Signature annually deploys thousands of consultants to support, run, and manage their clients’ technology needs. Signature offers IT staffing, consulting, managed solutions, and direct placement services. For more information on the company, please visit www.sigconsult.com.