One of the best career moves you can make in your twenties is to find yourself a mentor. This can be intimidating because you need to form a sort of partnership with someone you admire, but it’s overwhelmingly worth it.
We have tips to get you started on this new and enriching relationship so you can take your career as far as possible.
Spend Time Considering
Besides the one you marry, this may be the most important person you decide to pair up with in life. You should really take the time to consider all of your options before settling on who you want to be mentored by. Consider their career path, their personal relationships and their satisfaction with their own life, and how those mirror the hopes you have for your own. But think also about who you want to have a cup of coffee with, or receive critical feedback from. It all matters.
It’s More Than the Job
When deciding on a mentor, don’t just look at their job title. Expand your sights to include someone who works well with other departments or is known for innovative ideas. Just because they have your dream job title doesn’t mean they are the best mentor for you. Examine their tactics: Did they earn their position honestly? Have they implemented anything you’d never agree with?
Don’t Be Afraid to Come on Strong
You don’t need to tiptoe around the subject. Most people love being asked for their help and wisdom, and being asked to mentor someone is hugely flattering. Be straightforward: Say you look up to them and would like them to mentor you in your career.
Ask for Honesty
If you’re truly looking for a mentor, then you need to understand there are going to be times when you’ll receive criticism. Let them know you would like them to be honest and candid in the mentor/mentee relationship, and then use that honest feedback to better yourself.
Your mentor will want to see you take initiative, so make sure to set up times to speak or meet. You may prefer regular, scheduled meetings or an occasional coffee or lunch. Make sure you’re the one to reach out with a time or a day that you would like to meet, unless your mentor proposes otherwise.
You need to show that you are worth your mentor’s time. Always strive to take their suggestions and continue to show that you’re growing in your position. They will take just as much pride in you succeeding as you will, so give them something to be proud of.