How to Find a Career Mentor and Why You Should

So how does one go about finding a mentor? There’s no one way that works for everybody, but these steps should get you on the right track!

Ashley, a hiring manager from Cardinal Health, gives this piece of advice about mentors: “Having a mentor in your first job or internship is beneficial because you can use them as a resource to help you navigate the waters. Your manager is a great resource as well but your mentor can help you with advice or situations you may not be comfortable going to your manager for.” 1 The best mentor/mentee relationships are those that are built off of a genuine connection and can be as formal or informal as you’d like.

Identify Potential Mentors
This may sound obvious, but the first thing to do when looking for a mentor is to find someone that you want to be mentored by. Amy, a hiring expert from Textron, recommends that you “think about someone you look up to professionally, who either has a similar career you would like to pursue or has professional qualities you would like to achieve.”

Reach Out
After deciding on who you will ask to mentor you, the next step is to reach out to them! This can be as simple as sending a short email asking them to meet you for coffee. Brittany, a hiring expert from ManpowerGroup, suggests saying something like this:

  • "I saw that you won X award in 2012 and 2013 -- that's quite impressive! I'm just starting off in this field and would love to grab coffee if you're free sometime in the next couple of weeks." 
  • "I recently came across the article you wrote, and it was fantastic. You made some excellent points when bringing up X, Y, and Z. If you're able to, I would love to grab coffee and talk more about X. Do you have any free time this week?" 3

Don’t Get Discouraged
Unfortunately, this process isn’t foolproof, and the person you selected may not be able to act as a mentor to you. Maybe they just don’t have time in their schedule, or they already mentor someone else and don’t want to stretch themselves too thin. Whatever the reason, don’t give up. Start thinking of another potential mentor and reach out to them.

Even though the task can be intimidating at first, stick with it! Find a mentor and soak up their wisdom. You never know how they may be able to help you down the line, but it can never hurt to have someone on your side who is truly invested in your success.


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