I really wish while I was in college that someone expressed to me how important it is to have a mentor. As a grade-A student I was confident about my game plan for graduation and even lucked out with securing a job only a few weeks after I left campus. I completed several valuable internships and secured a few freelance gigs, too. However, I didn’t stop to think financially and professionally what my future would be. I wish I had been smart enough to take the time and seek out guidance and advice from a mentor at that time.
Looking back at my professional career, I can see the mistakes I could have avoided had I had a mentor or a career coach. I’ve learned my lesson though, and mentorship remains a top priority for me.
WHAT IS A MENTOR?
- Someone who may be more senior than you in age or experience
- Willing to guide you on making the right decision for you at the time
- Offers professional advice and career insight
- Generous with their time and resources to help answer your questions
- Can exist in or outside of your industry
- Someone you admire
- May not identify as the same gender as you
- Has your back
Mentors can be people (get a woman on your side!) you work with. Is there a co-worker who really stands out for you that’s always super helpful or goes out of their way to welcome you in every project? Reach out to him/her! Mentors can be someone you know through your online network. For me there are plenty of people that I consider mentors who I only know from our connection online: be it their Twitter feed, their blog, or articles they share. The stories they share resonates with me and I can always go to their sites for more advice. However you find one, grab them and never let them go.