Nov 16, 2022

Why should I have a career mentor?

A career mentor is someone who offers guidance and support to help you to achieve your professional goals. They are typically someone with years of experience in your specific field and industry, who uses their knowledge and understanding to help you to succeed.

Many people would like a career mentor but don’t know who to ask for advice. Follow our advice below to identify who to choose as your career mentor.

1. Identify your needs

Identify your career goals and set targets for where you want to be in 1, 5 and 10-years’ time. Think about what obstacles are in your way to achieving your goals, and what you can do to overcome them.

For example, if the next level of your career requires you to be comfortable giving presentations and meeting with new people, but you currently struggle with public speaking, it would be beneficial to find a mentor who can help to build your confidence and tackle your fears.

2. Who do you already know

Once you have identified your career goals it’s time to think about who you know that could act as a good mentor to you. Who works in the same industry as you? Who is particularly skilled in the area that you wish to improve? Who inspires you and who you would feel comfortable opening up to?

It is good to consider current and former work colleagues, friends and family, along with people from within your professional circle.

3. Reach out

The next stage is to reach out to your potential mentors. Send them a message explaining how they have inspired you and why you think they would be a good influence in your career. Ask them if they have any spare time for you to call them, or to sit down in person with, to discuss your career aspirations.

If your mentor is based in your organisation it is advisable to speak to your line manager first. They may be able to put in a good word for you to make the approach easier.

Always be humble and grateful when requesting the help of others.

4. Sounding board

Once you have a mentor in place they will act as a great sounding board for you to share ideas with. They will be able to share with you examples from their real-life experience and advise on what has worked for them and what they would have done differently in hindsight.

5. Connections

Your mentor will have lots of connections in the industry who may be able to help you and the organisation that you are currently working for. You can use their connections to grow your own network, which in turn can lead to potential business partnerships and future employment opportunities.

6. Career Advancement

The biggest advantage to having a career mentor is that they help you to stay focused on your career through helping you to improve your skills, confidence and knowledge. They will help you to set clear goals to help you to succeed in your career.

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