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.