Having a mentor is one of the best things you can do for your short-term and long-term career success. Whether you’re in college, beginning your career, or in a senior role, the value of a mentor cannot be overemphasized.
Mentors can help you create a career development plan, overcome challenges along the way, and hold you accountable for staying on track. They can also tap into their network to help you find job and internship opportunities.
The benefits of mentorship have been proven through research. One study found that companies promoted employees who were mentored five times more often than their counterparts who didn’t have a mentor.
Let’s explore, in greater detail, the reasons why you need to find a mentor.
1- To Clarify Your Career Goals
At every stage of your career development, mentors can help you in clarifying your goals and creating an action plan to achieve them.
Often, early career professionals lack self-awareness and real-life experience to guide them in building a realistic career development plan. Mentors as trusted advisors in the process – helping their mentees to identify their strengths and weaknesses, set SMART goals, and create action plans.
2- To Develop Your Leadership Skills
If you’re preparing for leadership positions, a mentor is one of the most effective ways to learn the ropes.
Not only will a good mentor inspire you, but they can also help you develop leadership skills such as strategic thinking, empathy, listening, and the ability to inspire and convince others.
A mentor will also provide you with honest feedback that others may not. In other words, mentors hold up the mirror for you to see your strengths and weakness.
With the help of a mentor, you can identify the habits, practices, and beliefs that hold you back from making the bold moves you need to develop into a leader. They also help you gain confidence in your abilities.
3- To Expand Your Network
Being older and more experienced, mentors usually come with a wealth of networks that can also benefit their mentees. They can introduce you to other key individuals in your career development and connect you with opportunities in your area of interest.
Mentors can also help you improve your networking skills using their own experience. They can tell you what has worked best for them in their networking efforts and what hasn’t.
In addition, mentors might be able to point you in the right direction when you’re looking for networking opportunities. They might know of networking events that you aren’t aware of. Attending such events with your mentor can help both of you in building your networking skills and contacts.
4- To Hold You Accountable
Do you have trouble keeping on track with your goals? A mentor can help you with that. As a mentee, you don’t want to disappoint your mentor – which will push you to work harder and smarter to achieve your goals.
Your mentor will regularly ask for updates on your progress, provide guidance where you experience challenges, and encourage you along the way. This will keep you from putting important tasks on the back burner and keep you on track with your goals.
How to Find a Mentor
Now that you know why you need a mentor, where do you find one? Join 8B’s mentorship program to be matched with a mentor. Our mentors are experienced industry professionals who can help you, as an African student abroad, to achieve your goals at every stage of your professional development.