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How to Find a Mentor to Support Your Professional Success by Mark Harris

How to Find a Mentor to Support Your Professional Success

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Everybody wants to have a fulfilling career that they enjoy and can thrive in. However, achieving that goal isn't always easy. Luckily, there are resources that can help. A mentor is one valuable asset that can help guide your path to career success. Read on to find out exactly what a mentor does, how to find one, and what you can do to make the most of your mentoring relationship.

Recognize the ways that a mentor can help you

A mentor is a person who works in your niche and is more advanced in their career. For example, they may hold a position that you aspire to. This individual can answer questions, provide career advice, and even connect you with jobs and internship opportunities. A mentor can also help you identify your career goals, assist you in identifying knowledge gaps, and provide encouragement.

Know what you want in a mentor

Before you start hunting for a mentor, make a list of what qualities you want this individual to have. The Balance has a list of characteristics that make for a good mentor, such as expertise in a relevant field and a demonstrated interest in helping others. Great mentors are also encouraging and enthusiastic while still being willing to provide honest feedback.

Try diverse tactics for finding a fitting mentor

There are many different ways to connect with mentors. You might ask someone more senior at your workplace to mentor you, for example, or connect with a mentor at a networking event. You can also find mentors via online networking platforms, such as LinkedIn. Once you find someone who you'd like to have as a mentor, ask them to make sure they're up to the task. Not everybody wants to be a mentor.

Consider pursuing a degree to find a mentor

Getting an advanced degree is another way to find new mentorship opportunities, for example through professors or teaching assistants. Plus, you can gain the skills needed to advance your career. For example, if you want to be a teacher, a degree in education is logical. You can learn instructional practices and finetune your expertise in key subject areas. Online programs let you study when and where you want. Here's a good option.

Make the most of your mentoring relationship

Once you have a mentor lined up, dedicate yourself to the mentoring process. Your mentor's time is valuable—as is yours—so you don't want to waste it. Torch offers tips for maximizing a mentorship relationship. For example, you should create an agenda for each meeting, outline your goals, and write down questions to ask. Finally, leave time for feedback.

Know when to end a mentoring relationship

A mentor can be a valuable tool to advance your career success. However, mentoring relationships aren't made to last forever. For example, you may outgrow your mentor at some point in your professional progress. Recognize signs you should end the mentoring relationship, such as if you're feeling bored or no longer have questions for them.

Consider becoming a mentor

As your career progresses and you gain confidence, you might consider becoming a mentor yourself. This is a great way to give back while also building more connections and bolstering your reputation as an expert in your field. HubSpot offers tips for becoming an effective mentor, such as practicing active listening, demonstrating empathy, building trust, and connecting with like-minded people.

Mentorship can be a valuable tool for all involved. While mentees gain wisdom and receive guidance, mentors have the chance to flex their leadership abilities. If you're thinking of getting a mentor, there are many places to look, from networking events to online degree programs. Trust the tips above to find your perfect professional guide.

For more content to support your professional path, check out Iron Wills blog.

This article was written and submitted by Mark Harris

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