You might have been advised to look for a mentor to help in your career or work relationship in order to enter the job market or move up the corporate ladder. However, you may be unsure as to the best way to discover the right mentor for you.
Before you get started, you need to understand the basics of mentorship because your definition may not always be as accurate as you thought. Most people assume all you need is to search for someone in your field that inspires you to be your mentor, then approach the person to make a connection. Perhaps, you might luck out with a yes to your request. Nevertheless, chances are that the mentor that you were targeting will simply brush you off. If you don’t want to risk automatic rejection, then try to develop a relationship before making such a time-consuming request.
Be Personable If You Hope to Attract the Right Mentor
Don’t go into the assumption that you deserve a mentor because of high grades or a new position because of career advancement. You never directly ask your target if he or she will be your mentor. Instead, invite your future mentor out to have coffee to discuss his or her career with any questions about their skills to get the ball rolling.
Make it a point to follow up the initial meeting with a handwritten thank you note. This little gesture shows your appreciation of their time to share their wisdom with you. Unlike an email or phone call that may interpret something in their schedule, a personal note is not forgotten as easily as deleting an email or hanging up after a phone call. It can be a thoughtful reminder of the interest that you take in what they do.
Persistence and Personalities Are As Important as Skills When Considering the Right Mentor
Once you set your sights on the right mentor, tell that person what you find so special or hope to gain by following their example. Be sincere, but don’t be too obvious and chase your subject if you intend to win his or her approval.
Learn all you can about the mentor from researching his or her accomplishments and social media. This can give you a better feel as to the personality of the right mentor. Understanding how the mentor thinks along with uncovering some of his or her declared strengths and weakness can help determine if the two of you are compatible as well as establishing a beneficial mentor relationship. It also provides an eventual way in to seal a potential mentor relationship by volunteering what you can contribute or add to help the work along.
Try to Encourage Another Meeting When Seeking the Right Mentor
No one likes to be pressed, especially the right mentor. If you haven’t heard back from a potential mentor, then try calling or sending a brief email to express how much you valued his or her expertise. Leave the door open and say it would mean a lot to you to get together again to discuss more at the mentor’s convenience. Pursuing the person may be considered flattering to the right mentor because it shows your determination to win over his or her approval and form a relationship.
Winning over the right mentor is not a task done overnight. You got to gain the respect and hopefully friendship of the person over time. After all, the right mentor needs to know that you are worthy of bestowing his knowledge on. Otherwise, you are just a waste of his or her time.
Hopefully, what I shared about seeking out the right mentor can help give you more career confidence.