10 Reasons To Have a Career Mentor
This blog post follows the post I wrote on the services provided by the USIU placement and career office.
Who is a career mentor exactly? A career mentor is someone who has been working in the field you are interested in entering and growing in.
They exist to help you make the right career decisions and help you stay focused on your career goals. Please note that it is not their job to tell you what to do, they can only give you advice from the wisdom they have acquired, then it is up to you to decide what you will do. With that said, why should you have one?
Table of Contents
Reasons To Have a Career Mentor
This one should go without saying. The most important reason why you should have a career mentor is that there are doors that are simply not going to open for you, and that is a reality every professional will face, and that is where your mentor might come in.
A career mentor can avail of opportunities that you would otherwise have never been privy to. A career mentor is also privy to jobs and opportunities that are above where you are that you might be very well suited for but perhaps not aware of because of your station.
2. Industry knowledge
Career mentors are also good for helping you acclimate to the industry culture. If you have taken any intercultural communication classes, then you know that when it comes to culture, it is more what is not said than what is.
Your mentor will help you know about the ins and outs of the industry that isn’t public information, that perhaps is information that most newbies have to learn the hard way, why suffer when you don’t have to?
3. Encouragement & Motivation
There will come a time when your 9-5 grows stale and this happens for almost every professional when you’re looking at another career path and the grass looks greener, queue in your career mentor. They will remind you of the career goals that you have set for yourself and bring you back to the right track.
A lot of people take that career leap into a net that simply isn’t there, your mentor will protect you from career suicide, and keep you focused and motivated.
4. Sounding board
Career mentors also make great sounding boards, they act as a great non-biased voice that will help you know whether your idea is a good one or not.
They also provide you with constructive criticism because they have been in the industry so long they might have a better, easier way for you to go about things and of course, provide you with a fresh perspective.
5. Challenge and growth
Your career mentor will keep reminding you of the goals you have set for yourself and challenge you to keep pushing yourself because no growth happens in your comfort zone. Having someone constantly pushing you will help you achieve your career goals, sometimes faster than you had projected.
6. Trials and tribulations
This is another inevitable hurdle awaiting all professionals. There is something called work politics, where you will be overlooked, stepped on and other workplace shenanigans, this is the time you will need a mentor the most.
You will need someone to remind you why you need to stay focused, someone to help you take the emotion out of such situations, someone to remind you that merit trumps workplace politicking and shenanigans, and someone to help you stay the course, difficult as it may be at the time. This is also important because they will also tell you when it’s time to walk away.
We all struggle with discipline. Some of us more than others. That is precisely why it is essential to have a career mentor. Stay on course. Create goals and have someone who will make sure you stick to them. Achieve more, sooner, rather than later.
A good mentor will make sure you have clear set goals but more importantly, they will make sure you stick to them as closely as humanly possible.
8. Industry minefields
Who likes to blunder? No one I know. No one you know either. Wouldn’t it be great to dodge some corporate drama? Especially the kind that can ruin your reputation, right? With a great mentor leading the way, you can dodge dirty office politics like the matrix and focus on what matters, your career.
9. Free Professional counseling
Who doesn’t love a freebie? The only thing better than paid counseling is free counseling. From time to time office pressures and politicking will get to you, the same way it gets to everyone, and when that happens, wouldn’t it be great to talk about it with someone who can relate?
Sometimes we don’t just need to vent, sometimes what we need is someone who can get it and that is exactly what career mentors are for.
10. Professional advice
Free professional counseling leads us neatly into the last and most popular reason why people get mentors, and advice. Most people get mentors for the sole purpose of having someone who will advise on certain matters from time to time.
There is a reason this is one of the most important reasons to get a mentor. Their age and experience give them an elevated view, they are able to see a little or a lot further than you, and that could be the difference between being a little successful and leaving a legacy you can be proud of.
You can guess your way around your career path or you can know for certain with a career mentor. Why play the guessing game when you don’t have to right?
Career mentors are corporate angels that save you from unnecessary shenanigans that have the potential to light your career goals and dreams aflame. If you are a USIU student, then head over to the placement and career office and they will match you with the perfect mentor based on your major and career aspirations.
If you aren’t a USIU student, you might be wondering where to find a career mentor. Don’t worry, I have you covered too. A great place to start is networking events. All you have to do is talk to some people at networking events, exchange a few cards, and take note of people who you think would be a good fit for you as a mentor.
This will depend on the rapport between you. Once you have done that, then please do your research on them, and make sure you choose someone with a good reputation with upstanding values.
Once you have done your due diligence, you may make contact. Begin with a polite email to break the ice, then go from there. Don’t be pushy even if you really want them to mentor you, the rapport needs to be built naturally, so give it the time it needs.
What happens if it doesn’t work out with the prospective mentor you wanted? That’s okay, that just means they aren’t up for the job and that’s okay.
Now that you know the formula, keep looking. Also, consider LinkedIn. It’s also a great platform to network and find a mentor. Follow the steps and be patient, with yourself and with your mentor-to-be. I wish you luck.
I hope this helps :).