A MENTOR SHOULD BE AN IMPARTIAL GUIDE ON YOUR JOURNEY TO SUCCESS
Often when it comes to seeking career advice we rely on friends and family to guide us throughout the process, leaning on them for emotional and rational support. I for one always seek my parents opinions and advice when I’m requiring a little bit of guidance. However whilst having support from those closest to you is wonderful (and in many ways really important, as they genuinely know you) it’s also really beneficial to seek guidance and support from a more ‘external’ party, a mentor if you will. Whether that’s a mentor within your company, your industry or simply someone who’s career or opinion you respect, having someone you can consult on a regular basis can be super beneficial to your career.
Me personally, I’ve had a few mentors along the way, most noticeably me parents who as I mentioned I consult on everything, but I’ve also had other people within the industry I work in who have acted as a mentor for me, usually in periods where I’m working towards a promotion and seeking some advice and functional / rational support. In fact as I move into the next stage of my career over the next couple of years, I’ll be working with an established female within my industry who I’m fortunate enough to have been offered as my mentor.
But if you need more persuading or want to get your own mentor, read on …
WHY GETTING A MENTOR WILL HELP YOUR CAREER & HOW TO GET ONE
Learn from their experience
A mentor is best use when they’ve experienced what you yourself are going through, normally someone senior in their own career, who can provide advice and recommendations based on their own experiences and knowledge about your industry, career or business. It’s great to have a mentor who you find inspiring or who’s well recognised for their own successes, because ultimately what you want to do is learn from your mentors experience. They’re able to truly resonate with the situation you are in, and provide practical advice and support that you can implement in your career journey.
They provide a subjective point of view
A mentor importantly is impartial, they’re not involved in your direct career or career progression and so they’re entirely subjective and able to offer advice and support without having to worry about internal politics or bias. Ultimately this person is able to give you a truly subjective, fresh point of view, based on what you’re able to tell them and what they can view of the situation. This is really helpful when you’re crafting your CV or recruitment letter, when you’re preparing for a review, a big meeting or even a promotional request. Use them as a subjective critic & filter, and always ask for honest and constructive feedback, as this is what will help you develop.
A chance to have an honest conversation
Often in your career there are lots of topic of conversation that are perhaps more difficult to have with your boss, whether that’s internal politics, managing finances or how to detail your desired career path. A mentor is someone that’s able to give an honest point of view and also honest advice to help you’re own career journey, for example if you’re having to decide between two job offers, or trying to find a solution to a tricky time at work, or simply wanting some guidance for your next steps & how to ask for this in your current business.
Identify your strengths
Often when we’re judging ourselves or trying to sell ourselves, we can be a little harsh and self depreciating, often thinking of our negative attributes or the skills we’re lacking in. It’s so important in your career though to focus on your positives, the skills you do have and the successes you have achieved, and this is where another point of view can be really helpful. Whilst you don’t want to use your mentor for an ego boost, they can help you identify your strengths and help you use these to your advantage.
Asking is the easiest way to find a mentor
There are lots of industry bodies set up that offer the opportunity for mentor-ship which you can apply to and join, within the media industry we have the likes of NABS and WACKLE, but even asking your current business for a mentor is a great first step. As part of your next review, why not ask your boss or line manager for a recommendation of someone who might be a suitable mentor based on your career ambitions and desires … coaching is an important part of all businesses, so they should be more than willing to help find you someone.
Always be prepared
How you use your mentor is really up to you, but I’d recommend a monthly or quarterly catch up, perhaps over a coffee at an external location, an hour should be more than enough. The most important thing to remember is that your mentor is giving up their time to support you, so come prepared, motivated and enthusiastic. Have a clear idea of what it is you want guidance on, why you need their time and what you want to get out of your sessions. Why not prepare a list of 5 – 10 points you’d like to discuss, this will help shape the meeting and also let your mentor know that you’re taking the opportunity seriously (if your mental is from within your business, don’t forget they’ll be judging you for future roles too).
The potential for future opportunities
Having a mentor (external or internal) is also a great opportunity for networking and future opportunities in your career. Your mentor is invested in your development and your career, and so don’t forget the value of them within your network, and the potential their own network offers. A mentor can be the great asset in your career journey, so make sure you use the time you have wisely.
. COS MIDI DRESS . WHISTLES NAVY WOOL COAT . CHLOE HAYLEY . TOPSHOP MAGNIFICENT BOOTS .
And don’t forge that a one to one mentor is absolutely brilliant, but there are also a ton of career guides online that can offer great impartial career tips and advice, I for one aim to help each of you on your journey to career (or blog success) through sharing my own tips and experiences. So if there’s anything you’d like to see more of, like for me to provide my own advice on, please do just let me know.
Do you have a mentor in your career? What help and guidance would you like?