Finding a mentor as a student or recent graduate is one of the best moves you can make as you launch your professional career.
Effective mentorship can help you land internship and job opportunities, get promotions at work, and even lead to better work-life balance.
Here is how to find the right mentor as a student or recent graduate:
Know your Goals
To get the right match for a mentor, you must understand what you want. Understand your short-term and long-term goals. Knowing what you want to accomplish professionally, will make it easier for you to find the specific qualities that you are looking for in a mentor.
Working SMART is one method for setting effective, doable objectives. This method of visualizing your goals enables you to divide big ideas into smaller objectives that are simpler to complete through a series of immediate actions.
Think About Individuals you Look Up To
Who are the people that you look up to at the moment? Whose position would you want to take up in the next 10 or 15 years? These are individuals who are more established in your line of profession.
They could be immediate role models at your place of work or people outside of your organization. A mentor in your company can particularly help in discussing unique problems you’re facing at work. Such an individual could help you build a firm foundation at the organization that you work for.
Make Use of Your Existing Network
A mentor has to be well aware of your work and abilities so that they are able to effectively help you. Think of someone in your network who fits the role of a mentor. This could be someone who has already been informally mentoring you, advising you on workplace issues, or on your professional aspirations.
Make sure that you nurture that connection even further by making them know more about your work and your future aspirations.
Seek Out Role Models in Your Workplace
Your workplace is your immediate environment and is the first place that you should try to find a mentor.
Create a list of qualities that you are looking for in a mentor. These could be leadership or communication skills in your professional field.
Once you have a concrete list, consider your professional networks and look at the people that you would emulate. For example, consider people who started at your position and have been able to rise up the corporate ladder to their senior positions. Such people will make great mentors as you launch your career.
Look at your LinkedIn Connections
Of all the social networking skills, the best place to look for a mentor is LinkedIn. The network lets you see if your connections are mentors and also provides a feature that lets you search for specific skills that allow you to find the right mentors.
If you have no connections who are mentors, the search bar allows you to find professionals with specific skills that you would like to learn from. For example, if you want to learn more about Communications, the search bar will allow you to find professionals who are experts in the communications field.
Take Advantage of Mentorship Programs/Events
Whether you’re still in the university or are currently working, there are events organized by institutions that give you an opportunity to connect with the right mentor.
Take advantage of such events to learn about people who are way ahead in your professional field and people who would be willing to offer you their support through your journey as well.
Join 8B’s Mentorship Program to be connected with a mentor to guide you through your studies and professional career.
Bonus Tip: Know the Difference Between a Mentor and a Sponsor
Some people make the mistake of confusing mentors and sponsors. There is a difference!
The counsel of a mentor, for instance, cannot guarantee you a new position, a raise, or a promotion. Sponsors, though, can take care of that for you. They might work as a manager, recruiter, or even employer in different sectors.
Although you shouldn’t count on mentors to act as sponsors, they can connect you with potential sponsors in your industry. While sponsors are frequently more short-term, mentors can have a long-term role in your life.
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