Searching for a Career Mentor: Where Are They Hiding?

While most of us could benefit from a career mentor, they can be difficult to find! The right mentor can help you explore unconventional avenues and strategies to connect with experienced professionals who can offer invaluable insights and support. Continue reading to uncover the secrets of finding the right mentor to guide you through your career journey. Interested in exploring new opportunities? Check out our open roles.

You may have to look outside your office setting:

Not every work environment offers the opportunity for a great mentor. It’s sad but true. For others, the office culture is so small that there just isn’t an opportunity to connect to a mentor. So, what’s a person to do? Start by reaching out to others and proactively building a network to gain guidance and ideas from those with more experience. You can form mentor relationships even without an office culture that makes it easy to do so, but you will have to be more intentional about it. Look for opportunities to join a local branch of an industry association or a networking group that meets in person. Look on LinkedIn and on your university’s alumni page for people who work in your field and build from there.

While more than 70% of employees say they really want a mentor, only 35% have one. Why is that? Because most are afraid to ask for a meeting or to connect with a great leader to ask them to be their mentor. To take some pressure off yourself and ease the fear, remind yourself that the people you admire have likely had various mentors throughout their lives who have helped them to get to where they are today, and would jump at the opportunity to help others in the same way. Start with a simple ask: a quick 15-to-30-minute virtual coffee break. The best way to reach out is by sending a short email. Share one or two things you admire about their work, then tell them a little about yourself, why you’re reaching out, and what you would like to learn from them, and then wrap it up with your ask.

Know your career goals:

You have to know your career goals in order to know where to begin to look. What do you want to accomplish professionally in the next three months? Can you do it in your current role, or will it require you to switch jobs? Do you want to be a leader or C-Suite executive down the road? The more specific you are with your goals, the easier it will be to find the right mentor. One strategy to create effective, easily achievable goals is to work “SMART.” This stands for: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Picturing your dreams this way allows you to break down ideas into individual goals that are easier to accomplish through short-term steps.

Mentors may be hiding in your network:

The more aware someone already is of your work and abilities, the more effective they will be at mentoring you. Think about whether someone is already informally mentoring you — can you ask them to help you? Look through your LinkedIn “rolodex” to see who you’ve been building a relationship with over time. Who have you connected to on Facebook? Is there a professional events app you have engaged with? You might be surprised that a mentor is hiding in plain sight. If someone isn’t aware of your work or you’ve never talked to them, look for a connection. Make sure the person you are thinking about also has the expertise you’re looking for.

Are you interested in learning more about career opportunities in the financial sector?

PrideStaff Financial has consistently won awards for exceptional job seeker satisfaction. We can help you navigate your career. Contact us today to learn more.