So you’re in college or recently graduated and are completely panicked about if you’re in the right field, if you can find a job or how to succeed. It’s normal. Finding a mentor is a very important tool throughout your time as a young professional, and they continue to be important throughout your career. No matter how experienced you may become, a mentor can provide advice, serve as a reference and provide connections to other professionals in your field.
Where can I find a mentor?
The first step is to let people know you’re looking for someone to mentor you. Some companies provide mentoring programs within their human resources department. But it is important to search beyond the obvious. You can find a mentor almost anywhere. Ask friends or family if they might know anyone. Look for mentors within groups or associations you’re a member of. Another easy and simple connection to possible mentors is people who graduated from the same college or university. See if you’re alumni association or college program provide mentoring programs.
What should I expect from a mentor?
It is important to remember your mentor can be very busy, especially if they are an executive or high-level professional. US News suggests planning to meet once a quarter in person, unless something comes up sooner. It is important to be flexible since your mentor is taking a time out of their busy schedule to help you. Prepare questions you want to ask your mentor before a meeting so your time together is useful and productive.
How do I maintain a relationship with my mentor?
Aside from meeting up with your mentor to discuss your field, it is important to show that you are appreciative for his or her time. Send them a thank you note after your meetings and a card around the holidays. Ask if there is any way you can help them in return. By keeping communication open and consistent, your relationship will develop and grow.