How to Find a Mentor Early On in Your Career
With Thanksgiving happening this week, it really has me thinking about everything I’m grateful for. I think it’s important to take time to think about all of the good things. I am so grateful for the wonderful opportunities I’ve been given, the support I’ve had from friends and family and so much more. Pretty much, just gratefulness all around! Today I wanted to express my gratefulness to the mentors that have helped me so much in my career. My mentors have taught me about the real world and becoming a leader early on in my career, so today’s post is dedicated to the mentors I’ve had in my career, you know who you are 😉
To my mentors:
Thank you so much for taking me in as a mentee and for teaching me so much. I know I still have a long way to go, but if it weren’t for you I would not be where I am today. The lessons you have taught me about time management, prioritization, sharing ideas and more have been a huge part of my career. The lessons you taught me have helped me become a leader and given me so much knowledge to share with other young women beginning their careers 🙂
Now onto the topic that you probably clicked on this post for, how to find a mentor! When I first graduated college, I heard a lot about how a mentor can really help your career but I thought it was really hard to find a mentor and could take years to find one. Turns out, it wasn’t as hard as I thought to find a mentor and in fact, I found a mentor pretty early on in my career.
First things first, what is a mentor? If you look up the definition for a mentor, it is defined as an experienced or trusted advisor but to me, it means a little bit more. A mentor can be someone that you look up to, whether it be in your career or life in general. It can be your manager, a fellow co-worker or a colleague that you used to work with. Ultimately the definition of a mentor is up to you, we all have different meanings for what a mentor means to us.
I know what you’re thinking….”Kristen, how the heck do I find a mentor?!” Well here are some of the different ways you can find a mentor early on in your career.
At Your Current Job
This is probably the fastest way to find a mentor and could really help when you need advice specific to your company/job, maybe a new project you’re working on or a problem you’re having trouble solving.
Ideally the mentor at your company should be a few “steps” above you and was in a similar job position as you are currently, so they can give you beneficial advice to help you with your career. Many companies are also starting to have mentorship programs that you can sign up for, so ask your HR resource if this is something your company offers! And if they don’t yet, it could be a good chance to take the lead on starting the program at your company 🙂
Industry Networking Events
Another great option for finding mentors in your career can be through industry networking events! You never know who you’ll meet at networking events, it could end up being a new job opportunity or really connecting with someone that they end up becoming your mentor. If you meet someone at a networking event that you feel you really connected with, a few days after the event – reach out to them and ask if they would want to go get coffee (if they’re nearby). Asking them to coffee is a great way to casually pick their brain and talk to them about their career and yours.
There are so many online resources to take advantage of if you’re looking for a mentor! LinkedIn is a great resource for finding other local professionals in your industry! They are rolling out a new feature (currently in testing) that’s like a Tinder but for mentors/mentees, it should be a great tool once it’s a feature available to everyone! While you wait for this feature, you can use LinkedIn to find local professionals that work in a similar industry as you!
Another great online resource you can use is Career Contessa, which if you’ve read my 5 career resources for young women article then you know they are one of my favorite career advice sites especially for us millennial women! On their site, they offer a service that lets you book a mentoring session with specific women depending on your industry and needs.
There you have it, 3 simple ways to find a mentor early on in your career. Now it’s your turn! Do you have a mentor? If so, how did you find them?