Professional Mentors: 5 Things to Consider Before Selecting One

Posted by Jeff Pelliccio on Oct 20, 2015 8:30:00 AM

In ICS insights

Take a moment to think about where you are in your career.

Whether you are just starting out as a recent graduate, are a job seeker, or are already moving up the company ladder as a manager or seasoned professional, you can still reap the benefits of having a professional business mentor, or adviser.

What Is a Mentor?

A mentor is a person, usually someone who has demonstrated strong knowledge and success in the field you are in or aspiring to be in, that helps you along your career path. Mentors should always be dependable and tuned into your needs.

Depending where you are in your career, the person you select to be your mentor should be an expert in exactly what you are looking to learn more about. For example, if you are just beginning your career, you need an adviser that can teach you how to begin and move forward.  If you are more experienced, you need an adviser that has been in your position before and can help you navigate various professional situations, provide you with guidance on your career path, and make training and education recommendations, so you can continue to grow if that is your goal.

How do I know if a person is the right mentor for me?

How to tell if a person would be great for the job is simple and yet not. Here are a few things to consider when jumping into a professional mentor-mentee relationship:

  1. Time – One of the main issues that will arise is making time. Your personal mentor should be more than willing to provide the time to teach you what is necessary for your career path. Conversely, you must be available to do the work it takes to absorb and apply what they are teaching you.

  2. Self-Image – Another important attribute your adviser should have is a healthy self-image. If they are confident in their own abilities, it is easier for you to be as well.
  3. Vision –They should have goals and enough vision to guide you to establish and follow through on your own goals.
  4. Honesty – Everyone loves to be praised, but honest criticism is even better, especially from someone who knows what they are talking about.
  5. Discretion – Last, but not least, the most important attribute is to have an adviser who is discreet. You want to work with someone who you can be frank and honest with when communicating your goals, not having to worry about any repercussions.

Where should you look for an adviser?

There are many different options, but it can all be divided into two words: online or offline.

You may be too busy with your current job or unable to find a suitable business mentor within your company, so you have the option to look online. Of course, do as much research as you can to ensure you are not wasting yours or your potential mentor’s time. Reviewing LinkedIn profiles and other social media accounts really can help. Also, you would be surprised how much information you can get back from a few simple google searches.

Offline mentors are usually found within the company you are already working within, but, if you are currently just a job seeker, try joining an association or a group that provides opportunities for all ages no matter where you are in your career. WEDDLE's Association Directory might be able to find the right association for you. Additionally, can connect you with local networking organizations that meet weekly at a very low cost to you.

No matter whether you choose to search for a mentor online or you are lucky enough to find one within your own company, be sure that they are the right mentor for you before you leap into a professional relationship.

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