Whether you are just starting an internship or a new job, the importance of finding a good mentor that is willing to help you develop and grow professionally cannot be stressed enough. All you need to do is look back and just imagine what it would be like if you were expected to learn how to swim or drive a car all by yourself, it would definitely make the whole process more difficult and some people might decide to even give up.
Finding the right mentor can be invaluable as you are just starting out in a new career. Having the guidance and support from an expert in your field or organization will help you advance much quicker than if you were left to do it on your own. A good mentor is committed to helping you learn what’s required to be successful in your field. Not only can they assist you with learning the required skills and knowledge required but they can also provide a much deeper understanding on how the organization works and how to work best with the different personalities that comprise the organization.
Selecting the Right Mentor:
Selecting the right mentor is a very individual decision. Defining what you need to help you break into a new field is the first step in identifying who in the organization might be able to help you best.
Some tips on finding the best mentor that can help you grow and succeed within the organization:
- Take the time to find someone who is well connected in the organization. Someone that can help you learn both the formal and informal networks that exist within the company.
- Find a mentor that can use your help and trusts that you are capable of doing a good job and that you both can mutually make each other look good.
- Select a mentor who shares similar values with you and is someone you can trust explicitly and can communicate well with.
- Find a mentor that not only has the experience in assisting their mentees but someone that also has the time and energy to devote to you to help you become successful.
Developing a Successful Mentor-Mentee Relationship:
- Demonstrate your ability to be successful.
Mentors are drawn to those that are new to the field that they perceive as already doing an excellent job. Those who show motivation and initiative and who become involved in new projects demonstrate their personal commitment to being successful and mentors are often drawn in and want to do what they can do to help.
- Dress the part.
I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage – don’t dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want. It may not seem fair but we are always being judge by how we come across and how we look. Demonstrating that you are someone who has a commitment to the organization and possess self-confidence and positive self-esteem will make other people like you as well as you demonstrate to them that you too feel that you are someone of value. It’s contagious – if you genuinely like yourself, other people will like you to.
- Make yourself stand out in the organization by the projects you commit to and your personal desire to see them through.
Professionals who have worked in the field for a long time are always looking out for the next “shining star”. That’s just how it is – success begets success and if you are someone who demonstrates your desire to be successful, experts in the field will take notice.
- Encourage your mentor to depend on you by always committing to do a good job.
It may seem that the people at the top of the organization don’t have time to notice new people just starting but nothing could be further from the truth. Once you are identified as someone who is committed and who has an awesome work ethic, higher ups within the organization will tend to seek you out to collaborate on projects.
- Learn more about the interests and hobbies of potential mentors.
Getting to know both personal and professional information from those you admire will help to foster easier and more in-depth conversations that can grow into strong future professional relationships.
- Be sure to always demonstrate your desire to learn new things no matter how difficult they may seem at first.
Your commitment to learn new things that will help you develop professionally will draw a mentor to you since they too will believe that you are someone who is going to go far in the organization.
As we mentioned before, whether you are a new intern or employee in an organization there is always potential for growth and finding someone who can help you with the process will make things much easier in the long run.