If taking your career to the next level is one of your New Year’s Resolutions, finding a good mentor or mentors can be a good first step. It can be a process that can be a catalyst for your belief in yourself. It is also an important way to expand your network as it can introduce you to people who could help you with your career and who you otherwise might not meet.
Acknowledge your shortcomings.
If you’re trying to move upward in your career, you need to know exactly what’s weighing you down, making that vertical climb more difficult. Chances are, you know many of your shortcomings and are working to eliminate them. But sometimes the biggest flaws are the ones we can’t see. A mentor can come in with an outside perspective to point out issues you may not be able to see.
Your relationship with your mentor will allow you to talk about your shortcomings freely and much more easily than you could with a boss or supervisor. Even if the shortcomings your mentor points out are ones you already know, working with him/her to find ways to make you better without the fear of it impacting your career is invaluable.
Don’t be afraid to reach out.
A simple LinkedIn search can help you find people who are currently in your dream job. Send them a short message and tell them your aspirations. Ask if they can spare 30 minutes for you to pick their brain.
Do your homework.
Learn all you can about this potential mentor with a Google search. Write down any questions you want to ask.
Pay attention to the mentor’s advice.
You may not follow all, but it’s important to listen to what they have to say. After all, the wisdom and experience they can provide is the whole point of having a mentor. Mentors are not just for the young either! You may not share any company secrets, but often are experiencing similar struggles, so swap stories and give each other advice on how to overcome those challenges.
Discuss difficult decisions.
As an outside source, a mentor has a unique outlook, able to give you advice without having a stake in the situation. Career coaching provides the wisdom and knowledge necessary for quality opinions and can help you discuss your options. You’re essentially in the presence of a safe zone, able to opine and debate the situation without offending anyone or speaking out of turn. Sometimes you won’t necessarily need advice on a situation as much you need to just talk it out. Often you know what the best course of action is, and saying it out loud, again to an impartial party, can be exactly what you need to gain a better perspective on the situation.
Join a network.
If reaching out to an individual isn’t in your comfort zone, seek a networking organization that focuses on career growth. Take notes as the person speaks. After the event, you’re also going to need to muster up the courage to introduce yourself. To find a good mentor, in most cases you really are going to need to take the first step.