Why you need a mentor

Careers with Hart
with Jay Hart

A great factor in the success, and sometimes failure, of every individual is whether or not that individual has been, or is, being mentored.

A work-place mentor is someone you have identified as having significantly more work and life experience than you and contains skills, contacts, abilities and even personality traits that you'd like to acquire.

Good mentors are either natural nurturers or people who actively look for the opportunity to grow others. They will let their mentees know about career opportunities. Mentors will introduce their mentees to the right people. They will point out areas of growth and point mentees in the right direction for obtaining said growth.

In short, mentors make the difference to workplace success. The bigger the industry or the work environment, the greater the need for a mentor.

Keep a look out for mentors among senior colleagues and industry professionals.

Students, look among senior peers at university, among faculty within your department and among industry professionals, particularly as you begin pursuing internships.

It can be very difficult to ask: “Would you consider mentoring me?” It's almost like asking someone out on a date. But it's important enough to withstand the anxiety and fear of rejection.

Mentors will often ask exactly what you have in mind. Suggest monthly catch-ups over coffee where they can share their personal career journey with you and you can ask for their thoughts on issues that arise in your career along the way.

As you build a relationship with your mentor, they will naturally begin looking for opportunities for you, encouraging you and introducing you to others.

Having a mentor from within your industry or university can make the difference to your future success.

Jay Hart is a career strategist at Careers with Hart, where she offers personalised career-coaching to teens, adults and businesses. Find out more at www.facebook.com/careerswithhart


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