It doesn’t matter if you’re fresh out of college, changing careers, or an experienced professional in need of direction, the right mentor can make all the difference.
There is no shortage of benefits associated with finding a mentor. These include but are not limited to:
- Guidance when you need it the most
- Someone to help you avoid costly and time-consuming mistakes
- Assistance building your professional network
- A sounding board for new ideas
- Receiving useful feedback
Now that you understand the benefits of having a mentor, it’s time to answer the most important question: what’s the best way to find a mentor?
While there’s no right or wrong approach, some ways of finding a mentor are more effective than others. Here are five ideas to start with:
1. Personal Network
This is where your search should begin. You may find that you don’t have to go any further than your personal network to find the person you’re looking for.
Your personal network includes people such as current and former co-workers and supervisors, family friends, and professors.
The nice thing about this approach is that you already have a relationship with the person you’re reaching out to. Not only does this make it easier to connect, but it also improves the likelihood of the person saying “yes” to your request for them to mentor you.
You can use LinkedIn to communicate with people who are already in your network. You can also use it to find and connect with potential mentors.
This is often the best approach when seeking a mentor in a specific field.
For example, if you’re seeking a mentor with experience in master data management, LinkedIn allows you to quickly search this keyword.
Conversely, if you ask your family and friends if they know anything about this topic, you may find yourself spinning your wheels.
3. Ask for a Referral
A family member, friend, or co-worker may not be a good fit as a mentor. But as you share what you’re looking for, one of these people may be able to provide a referral.
Don’t be shy about asking people in your life to assist you. Let them know what you’re looking for in a mentor and how you wish to proceed.
It never hurts to ask someone close to you for a referral. This could be the connection you need to strike up a relationship with a mentor.
4. Online Mentorship Networks
Online mentoring networks are exactly what they sound like. These platforms give you access to people who are open to mentoring others.
To get the most out of these platforms, compare a handful of them with a focus on features, pros, and cons. That will help you narrow your options, allowing you to spend your time on the actual search.
5. Industry Meetups
The more time you spend at industry meetups, the more your network will grow. And as that happens, you’ll come to realize that there are people who want to learn more about you and your goals.
Don’t attend industry meetups with the sole goal of finding a mentor. Instead, do so with the idea that you want to make personal connections with as many people as possible.
After each meetup, double back with anyone you met to continue your conversation. You can do this via phone, email, and/or social media.
Frequently Asked Questions
You’re likely to have questions during your search for a mentor. While this can slow you down, it also helps you better understand what type of person you want to connect with.
Here are some frequently asked questions to address today:
- Why are you seeking the assistance of a mentor?
- What do you hope a mentor can do for you?
- How will you make it easy for your mentor to assist you?
- Is it important to you that your mentor resides in your local area?
- Are you seeking a mentor in a specific industry?
As you can see, there’s no shortage of ways to find a mentor. With the right strategy and an open mind, it won’t be long before you have a mentor on your side who can help you reach all your business-related goals.