Despite what some people might say (hello, crazy mentor myths!), a good career mentor is like having a career angel who can shine a bright light on your bold ideas and tough work questions. For instance, whether you should accept a job you don’t really want.
While you might find a new career mentor in a more traditional place like an industry event, you can also find a go-to person in some seriously unlikely situations.
Read on for our handful of suggestions, and don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation when you find yourself in one of these spots.
1. While Volunteering
An ongoing volunteer activity can attract a community of people who develop deep bonds with each other over time. Once you start sharing what you do from nine-to-five, you might uncover a fellow helper who is interested in your professional goals and can guide or advise you to meet them. You also never know who’s connected to whom, so don’t be surprised if newfound friendships lead to introductions too.
2. Where You Celebrate Your Faith
Churches, synagogues and other houses of faith, belief, and worship boast diverse and bustling communities. Make the most of the group wisdom and experience by chatting up those you see on a regular basis. Don’t be shy about sharing your passions and the work you’ve done or hope to do, either. Mentorship is a mutually beneficial relationship, so bring your energy and enthusiasm to the relationship right at the start.
3. Facebook Group
Nowadays, Facebook Groups are major digital hubs of activity and draw people of all ages, interests and work experience. Try joining a few that are super specific to your industry or even something a bit more broad. Like a group targeted toward women or careers. Chatting up fellow members and taking part in online discussions may help forge a bond with someone who can help you along. A total bonus: You’ll feel great if you can help someone else out too. Remember to offer just as much (if not more) than you ask!
4. The Gym
We’ve heard plenty of great stories from women who met their new mentor at the gym or exercise class. Talking with people who enjoy the same physical activity that you do is a pretty authentic way to find someone who just might have taken a similar career path and would love to help you out with your challenges and dreams.
5. Social Event
Celebratory meals, showers, birthdays and weddings are a great place to chat with people who are just a few degrees outside of your immediate social circle. Because these kinds of events aren’t professional by nature, people often share more personal details than they might otherwise. Use this to your advantage, and you just may connect with someone who wants to keep the conversation going and be your new mentor after the event ends.
Of course, a more traditional search for a new career mentor can still be a good path to take. But keep your eyes and open in those unique and unexpected places, too. You never know where real wisdom might be found.
For this post, we’d like to thank our friends at Levo.