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Eight things you must know to find the right mentor


You need mentors, regardless of how old you are or how long you have been working. There is no rule that says you can have only one mentor. In fact, it will be to your advantage to have a few mentor relationships that can help you grow in different areas of your personal and professional life. Before you start your search for a mentor, consider the following:{{more}}

Be clear about why you want a mentor.

Write down all the reasons you need a mentor and be able to articulate them. Think about what you would like to gain from the relationship as well.

Know your preferred work style.

Think about your personality type and that of your mentors. Some mentors are very laid back and friendly; others can be very structured and formal. It’s just a difference in personality work styles.

Mentors are not perfect.

They are regular people, willing to be a resource to help you learn. Your mentor can advise you, but making decisions should always be your responsibility.

Describe who your ideal mentor would be.
Take into consideration the person’s experience, qualifications and current position. Make a list of those qualities.

Make a list of people who might fit your criteria.

We all would like a high-profile person as a mentor, but sometimes the best mentors are not high-profile people. Don’t get star-struck. Start with a dedicated, lesser known person, who is genuinely interested in your improvement.

Tell a few trusted people you are searching for a mentor.

If you see someone you think might fit your description of the ideal person, invite him or her to coffee or schedule an informational interview. During your meeting, ask that person if it’s acceptable for you to call occasionally for advice. Most people will say yes, but if the person sounds hesitant, he could be uninterested or have too many other time commitments. Don’t take it personally. Thank the person for his time and move on to the next person on your list. If the person says yes, great.

Look at your school, company and community.

Find out if your company/school has a formal mentoring program. If so, check to see if there are any prerequisites.

Don’t be a leech. Although your mentor is supposed to help you, don’t suck him dry of his time, talents, and resources. Figure out what you can also offer your mentor, so it becomes a mutually beneficial relationship. Be prepared, enthusiastic and show you understand and appreciate their time and information.

Excerpt from the book A Young Adult’s Guide to the Global Workplace, written by Karen Hinds

Karen Hinds is “The Workplace Success Expert.” For a FREE SPECIAL REPORT
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