Finding a mentor can be an organic process, but it’s essential to be proactive and set yourself up for a successful mentorship relationship. Here are some tips:
Determine what you want from your career. The first step to finding a mentor is defining what you want out of your career. You don’t have to plan your entire career path, because opportunities and unexpected directions may arise. Instead, define what you want in the short term to give you a clear path forward.
Pinpoint who has your dream job. Consider your career path and narrow it down so you can determine who has your dream job and whom you admire, said Bill Driscoll, senior district president of technology staffing services in the Northeast and Midwest at Robert Half. “Successful mentoring relationships happen when the mentor and mentee are the right match. Reach out to someone you think you are comfortable with who can be a neutral sounding board and [who] will also provide great advice.”
Examine your professional circle. People in your professional circle can include former bosses, former professors or teachers, co-workers in another department, people you met at an internship program, and family friends.
Look for people who understand your role and industry. Seek out someone with a general idea of your current role and industry who will be able to advise you on things like new projects, certifications and training you need to get ahead, as well as how to handle office politics within your organization.
Once you’re ready to reach out to someone, it’s important to keep things casual. Salemi said that your approach to a potential mentor should be the same as it would be to a potential friend – your relationship will develop over time. Don’t force things; stay relaxed. Lessons and advice will come with time.
“It’s not like you’ll be at a conference and chat with someone sitting next to you and say, ‘Oh, will you be my mentor?’”. “It’s a process. It’s kind of like when you think about friends in your life, how you met them, and how maybe over the period of a year or so you’ve gotten to become really good friends … in the beginning, you didn’t say, ‘Will you be my friend?’ That would be completely awkward.”
You can also access mentors for free at Tarubini.