The first step in finding a mentor should be determining your why. Why do you want a mentor? Why now? And why are you a good fit to mentor? As you begin this process, be prepared to be fully engaged, be dependable, and follow through on your goals. Mentorship is a complex and time-consuming development. Being committed and demonstrating gratitude during the process will ensure that you develop a strong foundation.
After you figure out your why, you need to determine what your goals are. NPR recommends setting goals following the S.M.A.R.T. approach. Figure out what you’re hoping to achieve or accomplish over the next 3, 6, 12 months, and beyond. Once you have a clear picture of what your goals are, then you’ll be ready to take the next step.
Like any other relationship, establishing a connection that develops organically is key in finding a mentor. So, start within your network and identify anyone whose career path interests you, or who might be able to make a connection for you. Then, prepare your introduction explaining why you who you are, what drew you to contact them, and why you’re reaching out.
As you begin to reach out to a potential mentor, prepare a short, written pitch of why you’re looking for a mentor and what your career goals are. Keep some Cover Letter Basics in mind at this stage too. Your pitch should include what your specific skills and experiences are, a high level analysis of your previous experience, and an overview of your career goals. Explain to your potential mentor why you’re reaching out to them and what you’re hoping to gain from a mentor relationship.
Once you’ve established a connection with a potential mentor, set a meeting for an informational interview. Be sure to take care of all the scheduling details, come prepared with an agenda and keep some of these Tips for Virtual Interviews in mind if you’re meeting virtually. Be on time and keep your meeting to less than an hour. Follow through with what your mentor recommends to you and stay connected to them.
The process of finding a mentor can reap a bounty of rewards for anyone looking to grow their skillset, expand their network, find new opportunities, or level up their professional development.
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