Anybody who places a focus on advancing their career will find the process exponentially faster with the help of a mentor. By not only serving as a helpful resource for career-related questions, a mentor can help guide you to the right path for whatever aspirations you may have in your role.
How Can a Mentor Help Advance Your Career?
- Breaking down the entire career path
Seeing the bigger picture of a career path can be a challenge for some roles. For example, if you are interested in real estate but don’t know the finer details of obtaining a license, you may also be unaware that you need to renew your real estate license on a periodic basis. A mentor can explain the finer details of a career path while also telling you what a career trajectory may look like.
- Allowing exposure to more advanced work
In many cases, a mentor will allow a mentee to sit in on some of their work, provided it isn’t confidential, in a shadowing capacity. They may even allow the mentee to take the first crack at certain tasks to gain exposure. This can help a person determine if upper level work is really something they wish to pursue.
- Being able to learn from the mistakes of someone else
One major benefit of having a mentor is that a mentee has the luxury of learning from mistakes that they never made in the first place. This can help them avoid setbacks in their career path and allow for accelerated growth through learning. Don’t mistake learning from someone else’s mistakes as meaning that you won’t make your own, but rather as a way to avoid the mistakes that most commonly occur.
- By being your biggest supporter and biggest critic
In reality, a mentor will be both your biggest supported and biggest critic. They are meant to help keep you on the right path by supporting your strategic decisions and by offering advice. In addition to this, they will also keep you in check by questioning decisions that don’t seem to have immediate merit. They don’t do this to make you feel regret for your decisions, rather to ensure you have a complete thought process on each and every action you take.
- Opening up your network
When you gain a mentor, you also gain access to their vast network and connections. The people your mentor may be connected with could have access to aspects of your career or different paths that you never before considered. At the end of the day, growing you career is all about expanding your network over time. This is best done by adding a mentor to your life who has a long history of networking within your industry.
- Helping your break down what you want from your career
Finally, perhaps what a mentor is most effective at is helping you identify what your goals are with your career. If you begin to work with a mentor who is extremely well-versed in the different paths that can be taken from a career choice, they can help you better determine where you want to end up in the long term. In the last year, 53% of Americans switched career paths in favor of something new. While a career choice may seem like the right decision now, a mentor can help you determine if something is better suited to your interests.
How to Find a Mentor in Your Career Path
Remember that a career mentor needs to want to work with you as well. Mentors and mentees are a partnership and tend to be most effective when both parties wish to be involved. Nowadays, over 70% of organizations utilize a mentor-mentee program, which means connecting with willing participants should be easy. Identifying who you would like to bring on as a mentor is best done by using a few different strategies:
- Identify what you are seeking with a mentor
- Request informational interview meetings with experienced coworkers
- Start by browsing your own network of professionals
- Consider asking someone you admire
- Identify your career goals before seeking out a mentor to help guide the search
Taking on a mentor is an effective step in reinvigorating your career, regardless of if you feel burnt out or not. By seeking out an experienced professional in your industry or desired industry, you can have all your pertinent questions answered with accuracy, along with guidance on how to succeed in your career. Don’t hesitate to reach out to those you admire to request their mentorship today.