Can A Mentor Help You Get Ahead in Your Career?

December 13th, 2013

The short, simple answer to the question in the title is “Yes.” But maybe you’re wondering how?

A mentor can help you:

  • learn about and adapt to a company’s culture when you’re new on the job.
  • get ahead by offering advice.
  • become involved in highly visible projects.

Many companies have formal mentoring programs that pair up junior employees with seasoned veterans, but yours doesn’t, try to identify a colleague who has the professional expertise you want to develop and possibly even the same interests you have. You want someone who will help you grow, move forward, challenge you to be your best and advocate for you in your organization

If you can’t find a mentor on your own, try asking your manager or the human resources department at your company who they think might be suitable for you. Note: your boss should not be your mentor, since you need to feel free to discuss any challenges, setbacks or desire to move into a new role with your mentor.

Once you’ve established a relationship with your potential mentor, how can you get what you need out of the relationship? Take a proactive approach by:

  1. Making sure both parties know what you’re looking for in a mentor. Do you want someone with your same skills, or a different skill set who can coach you in how to expand your horizons? Are you looking for someone who has climbed the corporate ladder and knows the ins and outs of the company’s politics?
  2. Establishing goals for the relationship and determining what each party will have to do to make it successful. And how will you communicate and how frequently—will you meet face-to-face on a regular basis, or will you mostly touch base by email or by phone? Make sure your style and schedule suit both of you.
  3. Finding more than one mentor if you feel it’s necessary. You may want to establish multiple mentoring relationships with people who can help you in different aspects of your career.
  4. Being respectful of your mentor’s time and the other life priorities, such as family, travel and community activities. Earn your mentor’s trust by keeping your appointments and following through on leads and contacts he or she gives you.
  5. Varying the types of activities you share. In addition to talking about your goals and plans and asking your mentor to share past experiences, the two of you can attend meetings, conferences and other events together. You can also shadow your mentor at work.
  6. Expressing your gratitude. Be sure you tell your mentor consistently how much you value and appreciate his or her guidance.

Another great way to get ahead in your career? Call the hiring experts at Synerfac. We’re always ready to help you find jobs where you can achieve your true potential.

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