How to Find a Career Mentor

Image of Liz Lokey
Liz Lokey
Career Mentors can be very helpful.

There are times throughout your career when you feel unsure of what your next step should be. Maybe you know what you want in the end, but you don’t know where to start or how to get there. This is where having a mentor can be helpful.

There are many benefits to having a mentor and one of them would be career guidance. You should try to choose a mentor that is in the position you want eventually or that has years of experience in the industry. Remember, don’t be afraid to ask! The worst that can happen is that you are told no.

Having a mentor can help you pick up the skills and knowledge needed in the trade quicker than if you tried doing it on your own. In our industry, for example, you could learn about equipment and discuss the options of freelance vs. full-time work. Especially when you are starting out, there is so much to learn, but it can be hard to figure out how where to start.


Searching for A Mentor:

A lot like with dating, the first thing you have to figure out is what you want. The more narrowed and specific you are, the easier it will be to choose someone who is a good fit. The next thing you need to do is ask yourself these questions:

  • Why do I want a mentor?
  • What do I want to gain from this mentorship?
  • What are my expectations for this mentorship?
  • Do I want to have scheduled meetings? Or do I want to just be able to email them when I have a question?

Once you know what you want out of a mentor and your expectations, start looking for potential matches. Start with your network, people you may have met, worked with in the past, or a contact from a friend/family member. If you went to college, Think of professors or teachers that still work within the industry that you already have an established relationship with.

Still struggling? Well, we are in an age of social networking. A great resource to locate people in your industry is LinkedIn. Start searching and locating potential mentors. Make sure you do your research on the person before you contact them. Google them! Read what they have written, peruse their resume, and find anything you can about them and their company.

Here are the main benefits of having a mentor:

  • They can guide you through the industry and the hierarchy of positions; help you define a clear path to follow.
  • They can provide advice on potential career goals and opportunities.
  • They can tell you stories about mistakes they’ve made and how they overcame them so you don’t make the same ones.
  • They can inform you about industry trends and maybe even courses you should take for your skill set.
  • They can give constructive criticism on ideas and decisions you have made or want to make.
  • They can act as your confidant. You can express situations about work, goals, and fears related to your career. They are also there to discuss the industry in general.
  • They can Inform you about opportunities that they know of and pass on your information.
  • They can Introduce you to their contacts from their network.

Once you choose a mentor

In the email it should include:

  • Why you are contacting them.
  • What you are looking for (These are your expectations and the other questions you answered above)
  • What your career goals are.
  • Why you chose to ask them to be your mentor.
  • Thank them for their consideration and wait for a response.

There are ample benefits to finding a career mentor. You have nothing to lose by building more relationships, so get on Linkedin and start searching for your mentor today!

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