The Value of Being Mentored for Career Advancement

IT Recruiting
Many young professionals believe that a good education, some work experience, and a strong work ethic will put them on the fast track to success. While all of these things are important, there is one very important element missing from this equation: a mentor. That person who will take a personal interest in your success by providing you with advice, guidance, and support throughout your career. Just like a master blacksmith during the Middle Ages who would take on a young apprentice, a mentor will take a long-term interest in your future, helping you to master your profession and preventing you from getting burned.

Whether you are midway through college, just beginning your career, taking on your first management role, or starting your own business, it is never too late to find a great mentor. Research indicates that mentored individuals perform better on the job, advance more rapidly within the organization, and report more job and career satisfaction.

In addition to advising you throughout your career and teaching you the skills you need to be successful, mentors can have a direct impact on your ability to climb the ladder. Oftentimes mentors are on the fast-track themselves, having climbed through the ranks quickly and established themselves as a master of their profession. As they move into management, get recruited to a new company, or even start their own business, they will be looking for like-minded individuals that they know and trust to help them succeed. As their protégé, you are likely to advance right along with them. Picking the right person to mentor you can have a drastic impact on your career, so it’s important that you take your time to find the right person for you.

While finding the right mentor can be a difficult task, here are a few tips for finding the perfect mentor.

  • Admit that you don’t know everything – Regardless of your education and experience, it is likely that there is someone out there who knows a lot more about your profession than you. Learning from someone else’s successes, and more importantly, their failures, will help you to avoid the same mistakes.
  • Find a mentor that shares your values – When searching for the perfect mentor, it is most important to find someone who shares your same values. Compromising your own values for the sake of professional development and advancement will leave you feeling unfulfilled.
  • Search for a mentor within your profession – This seems fairly obvious, but it’s important to consider. If you are studying to be a brain surgeon, choosing a mentor who is a dentist or cardiologist might not be the best choice. While they may be able to provide you with some general advice in the field of medicine, it is unlikely that they will help you advance your career as a brain surgeon.
  • Explore mentorship programs within your organization – Many companies and universities offer mentorship programs where they facilitate the process of finding a mentor. These can be very beneficial and are definitely worth exploring. With that being said, don’t feel like this is your only option. Don’t settle on a sub-par mentor just because your company suggested that they might be a good fit.
  • Don’t limit yourself within your organization – While finding a mentor within your own organization might be easiest, it is worth your time to explore other options. Join professional associations in your field, attend conferences and seminars, get involved in your community, and attend networking events within your field.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask – Sometimes a relationship will just build naturally and before you even know what is happening, you will find yourself seeking out the same person over and over again for professional advice. Lucky you. For most people, this will not happen all on its own. When you find someone who you believe might be the right fit, ask them if they would consider mentoring you. If they accept, be sure to setup a regular meeting time and establish some ground rules for communication. Lastly, be sure to thank them and let them know how much you appreciate their time.


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