Mentors shorten learning curves, improve our focus and help us reflect on wins and absorb the lessons learned from losses. They, even if they can’t always helps us avoid critical mistakes, help us recover quickly.
So how do you find a mentor… and build what could hugely beneficial relationship that gets your career off to a great start?
If you are a college student, recent graduate or young professional perhaps you’ve become aware that mentorship – and curating mentor relationships – has become a critical element in your career development.
Since mentorship is a relatively new aspect of career planning, made even more important by the continuing issues with our economy, this seems like a good time to talk about the concept in more detail. Specifically, let’s talk about facets of mentorship you should think about as you seek out the right mentors for you.
Here are my top 10 aspects of mentorship you maybe didn’t know… yet.
I just attended a client meeting where new graduates were reminded to “find a mentor if you want to succeed.”
Many of us are used to the image of a mentor as a gray-haired executive: the one expert who is supposed to have all the answers and can teach us the rules for starting our career. And we’ve seen firsthand the impact of having the right mentor at the right time…
The blogosphere constantly swirls with internship-related debates: Are internships “slave labor”? Paid or Unpaid? Which is better: Virtual or In-office internships? Internships vs. Entry-level Jobs.
Even after seeing thousands of internship postings pass through YouTern – until we thoroughly understood your goals and current issues we wouldn’t advise one way or another on any of these decision points.
However, there is one piece of advice we give everyone – regardless of career choice, financial situation, or any other criteria:
As an intern, you MUST choose a mentor-based internship. Here’s why:
“Mentors and sponsors aren’t just handed down to you. You have to ask for it.”
That’s good advice from Erica Dhawan, a leadership expert, Gen Y speaker, and advisor to Fortune 500 companies.
Most important, she says, is that when finding a mentor, you need to make like the Nike slogan and just do it. “‘It’s not only facing the fear [of asking someone to be your mentor], it’s also knowing who to ask,” she advised the room. “It’s a mix of planning, making a real connection, and then executing.”
Here are a few more of her tips:
At YouTern, we often say “coachability” – your willingness to learn from mistakes, accept and absorb feedback and then make deliberate improvements – is a huge factor in getting hired.
Successful job seekers and young professionals are coachable. Those who are not coachable… fail, and fail often.
Am I coachable?
You may be asking yourself that question. Lucky for you, a recent Gawker post titled “Here’s How to Condescend to 900 Job Applicants with a 3,000 Word Rejection Letter” (sub-titled “42 Do’s and Don’ts from a Dick”) provides an excellent litmus test for your level of coachability.