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How to Identify a Mentor to Elevate Your Career


If you ask anyone who has had a prosperous career to share the secrets of their success, you will invariably hear them talk about a trusted supporter who provided wise counsel and inspiration. In other words, they reaped the benefits of having a nurturing mentor who sponsored them long before they reached the pinnacle of their profession.

On your own journey to success, it’s crucial you have the guidance and encouragement of someone who has been there before you. That might sound intimidating if you are in the early stages of your career. After all, you can’t just walk up to one of the senior partners and ask them to teach you the ropes. But there are some steps you can take to build an effective mentor/protégé relationship. Here are three suggestions to get started:

1.    Network effectively

This strategy for finding a mentor will take longer because you will need to cultivate initial relationships before you formalize a mentor relationship. Keep in mind that industry events do not always attract the kind of professionals with whom you would like to connect. You may have to go beyond your comfort zone and connect with new people, initiating conversations and asking questions that can identify a potential mentor. Don’t disregard anyone until you learn more about them.

2.    Look to your industry

Talking to friends or people you know in your industry, or a similar one, can yield suggestions on possible mentors. You can follow these up by checking out their LinkedIn or AngelList profiles before you contact them.

Also, think about former managers under whom you enjoyed working. Reach out to them and invite them for coffee. Even if they aren’t a mentor candidate, they might be able to steer you to someone who could support you in that role.

3.    Embrace differences

It’s not imperative that a mentor is in your direct line of work. Similarly, your mentor does not necessarily have to use the same approach or match your personality in order to be an effective mentor. While it’s natural to be attracted to those who are like us, the differences between you and your mentor may end up being the most valuable components of the relationship. Just remember that qualities like integrity and honesty must be common to both sides.

Need More Help?

Finding the right mentor is an important career move. So is finding the right company in which to succeed. Let us help you find your dream job. Contact our professional recruiting team at Find Great People to get started.