Everywhere you look these days, the statistics are pretty scary. The economy is still struggling. Recent graduates face a bleak job market and the possibilities of moving home with Mom and Dad. And college students are wondering what their degree will be worth when they graduate.
If you’re one of the lucky few who has a secure, stable position in your chosen field, don’t forget about those who are struggling. There was probably a time when you yourself were trying to start your career and someone helped you out. So now is a great time to return that favor. And as if that wasn’t enough motivation, becoming a mentor is great career advice for you. Here’s how.
Career Mentors Attract Talent
I once had a boss who would say, “I’m not very smart, but I know how to hire really smart people.” In other words, the best managers are always on the look out for new talent. They’re not content with the people on their team, even if they are amazing. They are always looking to add someone with a fresh perspective.
Being a mentor to college students, recent graduates, and interns can be a great way to attract and keep an eye on tomorrow’s talent, which will in turn benefit you and your company down the road.
Career Mentors Increase Their Networks
Even if you don’t end up hiring one of your mentees, you’re still making an important contact for your network, which is always good to do. Maybe that intern or college student goes on to work for a major company that you want to do business with, or perhaps you recommend them to a hiring colleague who later on returns the favor. And who knows—depending on how things turn out, you may find yourself turning to them for a job in the future. No matter what the situation, being a mentor is a great way to increase your professional network with next-generation talent.
Career Mentors Know Learning is a Two-Way Street
If you’ve been in your position for awhile, it’s easy to get comfortable, for lack of a better word. Maybe you’re really familiar with your skills and have been meaning to branch out and try something new, but you haven’t made room or time for it yet.
Mentoring is a great way to not only help others, but to get a fresh perspective and continue your own education. You might be able to teach your intern the best way to pitch an initiative or deliver in a board meeting, for example, while he or she might be able to clue you in on social media and how it could work for your company. In other words, the best mentors learn just as much from their students as they teach.
Not sure how to become a mentor? Find out if your company has an intern program, and see if you can hire one for your department. Get in touch with the recent college graduates in your life, such as family members and the sons and daughters of co-workers. Talk to young, entry-level individuals who may volunteer at your church, your children’s schools, or your professional organization.
Once you find out who you can help, meet with them for coffee once a month. Offer to take a look at their resume, coach them on interview questions, and invite them to networking events. Check in on them periodically and see how their job development is going. You’ll be surprised; a little bit of effort on your part can go a long way in helping them start their careers.
About the Author: Noël Rozny is Web Editor & Content Manager at myFootpath, a career and education resource for students of all ages. Noël writes and edits the career and education blog, myPathfinder and is passionate about using these technologies to help students and job seekers alike find the degree program or career that is right for them.