Can a Career Mentor Help You Get Ahead?

The notion of a career mentor is nothing new. Mentors have been around since before the concept of jobs was defined—from medieval apprentices to today’s gurus and guidance providers. But are career mentors an antiquated idea that belongs back in the Dark Ages, or does modern society need mentors more than ever?

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Many people don’t understand how working with a career mentor can help. But whether you’re beating the job search path, racing up the corporate ladder, or so busy in your current position that you don’t have “time” for career growth, a mentor can be a valuable tool for your personal and professional advancement.

The advantages of a mentor

There are numerous benefits to developing a relationship with a professional mentor. Just a few of them include:

  • Improved self-analysis. While you may be great at helping other people pinpoint their weaknesses and shortcomings, most people have a blind spot when it comes to their own faults. Working with a mentor helps you identify areas where you could use real improvement, so you can make real strides in your skills and your career in general.
  • Increased knowledge. No one knows everything. However, mentor relationships can help you know more—you’ll receive not only objective feedback on your performance, but also actionable knowledge that will help you advance.
  • Better opportunities. Mentors are generally more experienced, and therefore better connected. One of the best advantages of working with a career mentor is gaining access to a wider network of professional contacts, and more possibilities for career movement—whether it’s up in your current company, or over to a new organization with more advancement opportunities.
  • A safe zone. When you’re having issues with your boss or a co-worker, discussing them with someone in the office is a risky proposition. Word can get around, and negatively impact your career. Mentor relationships come with an increased level of trust and discretion, and often mentors don’t even work for the same company as their protégés.

How to find a career mentor

The first step in looking for a mentor is to define what you’re hoping to get from the relationship. You’ll want to work with a mentor whose goals are similar to yours, and who works in the same career (or a new career that you want to step into). And you’ll need someone who has time to put into the relationship—just as you’ll need to ensure that you make time to participate yourself.

There are many places to find potential mentors:

  • Your workplace (especially if your organization has an established mentor program)
  • Industry and professional organizations
  • LinkedIn or other social media networks
  • Community groups, such as a Chamber of Commerce

As a potential protégé, you should take the first step in establishing a relationship with a mentor—since you’ll benefit the most. Be courteous and professional, and demonstrate your willingness to listen, learn, and be open to advice. Contact us today at (513) 651-9500 or by email at info@psychpros.com to find out more about how we can help you develop your staffing strategy.

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