You have big career dreams. Maybe it’s becoming a lawyer, a TV writer, or being the CEO of your very own fempire. While having a vision of your career goals is important, you also need to know how to make those dreams come to life.
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If you’re looking to be a future #girlboss, then it’s in your best interest to find a mentor to help you navigate the professional world. Here’s why you need a mentor, and how to find one.
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What’s a Mentor?
A mentor is pretty much an expert in your chosen field who can offer you advice as well as help guide you on your career path. A good mentor will not only encourage and support you, but will also challenge you.
They will help push you out of your comfort zone, while identifying resources that will help you with personal development and growth, such as recommending books, workshops, or other learning tools.
A solid mentor will also encourage you to join networking organizations, committees, and/or introduce you to new contacts.
In short, as someone who’s paved the path before you, a mentor will dispense the wisdom and advice they’ve picked up along the way, as well as help you to carve out your own path.
How to Find One
First, check with your friends and family. These are the people who know you and who can vouch for you. Ask those closest to you if they know anyone connected to your field of interest.
If they’re not sure, you might want to creep their Facebook or LinkedIn pages and see if they are connected to anyone who you would like to connect with. If so, ask them if they could set up an introduction.
Next, hit up the resources at your school. Many colleges and universities are connected with various organizations, volunteering and internship programs.
Additionally, you might want to connect with your alumni network and search out someone who’s doing what you want to do. Some people really like giving back to their community, especially to their alma mater, and would be open to answering any questions.
There are also usually a number of business associations, non-profit organizations, or community groups that are connected to your chosen field of work. Get Googling and see what’s available in your area. Send out an email and introduce yourself, and state that you are looking for a mentor. You never know if you don’t ask!
What to Look for in a Mentor
First, you want to find a mentor who you identify with. Your ideal mentor is someone who you intuitively resonate with. You like their attitude and approach to their career, and you have a genuine connection with them. This way, not only will you understand and connect with each other seamlessly, but it will also be easier for you to adopt, and adapt, to their skill set and mindset.
On the other hand, you might want to look for a mentor who is almost the opposite from you. Their approach and suggestions will definitely force you out of your comfort zone, but the growth you’ll experience by working with them will be huuuuuge.
By picking up a totally different toolset, you might learn a few new tricks and tips that could work to your advantage.
Ultimately, trust your gut and go with the mentor who you feel gets *you* and who you vibe best with. Good luck!