As an individual develops a career there will be times when that person has questions about what to do next or how to reach some form of success. Often times, those questions go unanswered not because people are afraid to ask, but simply they do not have someone that has the abilities to answer those questions. This is where having a mentor comes into play within the career development of professionals within any industry. Instead of blazing a completely new trail, there’s success in following in someone’s footsteps.
When its broken down, having a mentor is akin to having a big brother or big sister in the industry. These individuals are someone that has already gone through the trails and tribulations that you are currently facing. They’ve been able to overcome them and moved onto a level of success that you want to reach at some point in life. So it’s only natural that they should be able to answer your questions to make the right decisions while avoiding the mistakes that they made at the same point.
Obtaining a mentor is fairly easy. The best place to begin is with personal connections that can help you link with someone that has specific experience within your field. Most employers also have a form of mentoring program that is run through the human resources department or specific teams to teach new staff members the successful ways of the tenured. If neither one of those options exist, professional networking outlets such as LinkedIn or professional societies can place you in touch with someone that is willing to dedicate the time needed to be a career mentor. Whichever route you choose, there are many different ways to link up with experienced minds in your industry.
Another benefit of having a mentor is the opportunity to find interesting jobs or gigs very quickly. There may be moments when you mentor is approached about a job that they may not have time to complete. Instead of passing it off he or she will provide you with the chance to use the knowledge they’ve given you and move onto the next steps.
In the end, obtaining a mentor is all about networking. This person not only becomes a resource for your career growth, but they also become a cheerleader for your career; excited to see you surpass even your highest aspirations. While you make think you’re only learning from them, you will in fact learn from each other.