How to find a mentor for your career
Starting a career can be difficult if you don’t have the relevant experience or guidance from someone working within your desired field. That’s why, in some cases, having a mentor can help you carve out your dream career. Below we dive into what a career mentor actually is, if you need a mentor for your field and how to approach a potential career mentor.
What is a career mentor?
A career mentor is someone that works within a profession that can offer advice and career guidance to those just starting out. They can help you gain experience and help you decide what relevant skills you should learn for the career you have chosen.
In some cases, the skills you find the most interesting or fulfilling can help you decide what career path you want to take. So whether you have a certain field in mind or an interest in specific skills, a career mentor can help guide you to make the best decision.
The more you learn, the less dependent you will be on your mentor and their guidance. And with enough hard work, you’ll be on your way to having a successful career.
Do you need a mentor for your chosen career?
Whether you need a mentor or not for your chosen career can depend on how you learn most effectively. Some people thrive under guidance and advice, whereas others like to explore a wider path and gain knowledge as they find their own way. So if you find that learning under guidance can be restrictive to your progression, you may need to consider another way, like online research or find a mentor with a lighter approach.
Learning under a mentor’s instruction and supervision can relieve stress or worry that the direction you’re heading in isn’t the right one. A mentor will know which expertise would be most useful, even those that will only be used a little within your career, but can come in handy when certain situations arise.
If you’re looking to start your career in finance, trading, property or e-commerce you may find that having someone with an established career within those fields can give invaluable advice. These career paths can be difficult to navigate without proper instruction.
Traits of a career mentor
You can find a mentor within almost any industry that has a difficult entry level, you just need to know what to look for. When you’re starting out, you may have many questions or concerns, so it’s a great idea to have someone with experience, knowledge and patience on your team.
A mentor that will listen: Mentoring someone through a career or skill set can seem like an easy process from the outside, but everyone learns in a different way. So being able to listen and having the ability to adapt to different teaching styles can be a great thing to look for in a mentor. You want to find someone that can listen to your concerns and answer questions based on their own experiences in their career.
A mentor with experience: Advice can only take you so far if it isn’t relevant to what you want or need to learn. When looking for a mentor, make sure to check they have experience in the type of career you see yourself in. You can do this by using platforms like LinkedIn, where you can see what businesses they’ve worked for and which industries they have knowledge about, or their MentorME profile.
A mentor with a great track record: Mentoring can be a skill on its own. It takes a certain type of person to be able to teach newcomers effectively. This doesn’t mean that a mentor has to have official mentoring experience. For example, they could have previously worked within a tight knit team and helped newer members of the team learn new skills or principles within their field.
How to approach a potential career mentor
If you’ve identified someone you feel would be a perfect mentor, approaching them would be your next step. Here are a few key points you should put into practice when approaching them.
A meeting can get the ball rolling:
It’s not always easy to type out your reasoning behind contacting someone. That’s why it may be beneficial to keep your explanation brief and clear, and ask for a meeting. This can either be online via Zoom or Teams, or face-to-face if they are local to you. Having a conversion can help you express yourself more clearly, and emphasise your important points.
Explain why having a mentor would be beneficial to you:
Once you have a meeting set up, try to explain what you’re looking for in a mentor, the career path you want to explore and what you hope to gain in terms of skills. This can help the person you’re approaching decide and determine whether they can aid you in the way you’re looking for. Sometimes they may think they’re not the right fit for your career, but will be willing to recommend someone else they have in mind.
Explain why you’ve chosen them as a potential career mentor:
Most people appreciate interest and enthusiasm when it comes to their work, so it’s a good idea to show that you know about their field and the experience they have in their different roles. This may help you explain why their experience may be useful to you, for you to follow a similar career path. You can also take this opportunity to ask questions you may have to help you fully understand the career they are in.
Find a mentor with MentorME
Are you looking for an online mentor within business, property, trading or the e-commerce industry? Get advice from our mentors on the best way to start your career in your dream job or business!