How to Find a Mentor
A mentor is someone who can help you get through any new and challenging stage in your life. Here are five ways to go about when looking for a mentor.
1. Start with your network
If you are still studying, most educational institutions, universities and schools should have a mentor program for younger students to be guided by older ones. In a working environment, look up to knowledgeable colleagues who inspire you. Think about your circle of family and friends who are successful in a similar role or are already established in the field of your interest.
2. Use social media
Most successful people use social media to share their message and find like-minded people. Connect with these people. Research top performers in your industry. Be clear on what you want to achieve and why you need mentoring. Choose someone accessible and willing to share their knowledge, as you are most likely to get value out of the relationship if you can afford it and makes sense for the stage of your career development.
3. Assess your choices of mentors
When you found a suitable mentor for your career, first follow their work to get a feeling for their communication style (friendly or formal) and experience. Ideally, choose someone who is somewhat close to your age, but also who is experienced enough to learn from. Many excellent mentors may not match your style and preferences, and it is ok. You have to be comfortable with the relationship.
4. Give more than you ask
Make it worthwhile for your chosen mentor to work with you. Support their work online and offline, share their insights, engage in meaningful conversations, and increase their reach and visibility. The relationship should benefit both you and your mentor. Get to know your mentor first, and make sure you’re on their radar, too.
5. Set clear goals
Devise clear goals and expectations while looking for your mentor, and while you engage in a mentorship relationship. Set SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely) goals for yourself and communicate them with your mentor. Make sure you are on the same page concerning the outcome. It is best to write it down to avoid disappointments. If you are paying your mentor, make sure to have a contract ready.
Searching for a mentor is a very rewarding task. Remember — you need to put in the work. A mentor will not walk around looking for you; you need to make this relationship happen.
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