How To Find The Right Career Mentor

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Career mentor

A career mentor is an individual who holds your hand through the different stages of your career growth. This is someone who has more experience, knowledge or skills and is willing to guide another individual into the modalities of how things are done and how to grow their career.

The value of career mentors

A Mentor Helps You Create A Strong CV

Your mentor most likely has wealth of experience in writing resumes. They have done it throughout their career and hence understand the intricacies of what is needed and what is irrelevant. A mentor will advise on what language to use on your CV, how to format it, how to optimize it according to the role you are applying for.

A Mentor Can Offer Guidance on A Project

Mentors offer valuable insights and input in projects and tasks assigned to you. Sometimes you may wonder what to do to ensure maximum success in a project. Talking to someone who has done a similar project before can be quite the

Mentors offer valuable insights and input in projects and tasks assigned to you. Sometimes you may wonder what to do to ensure maximum success in a project. Talking to someone who has done a similar project before can be quite the

Mentors offer valuable insights and input in projects and tasks assigned to you. Sometimes you may wonder what to do to ensure maximum success in a project. Talking to someone who has done a similar project before can be quite the eye-opener. They will help you see why doing it a certain way is better and guarantees more success. This way, you get to learn from their mistakes and improve on what they already succeeded in.

Helps You Identify Resources and Better Ways of Managing Tasks

Your mentor has tried and tested various ways of doing things. You do not have to learn the hard way. With a mentor, you have a springboard to start on and get propelled to further growth and career development.

Helps You to Professionally Brand Yourself   

A career mentor will help you identify your strengths and opportunities in a particular role and advice on how well to position yourself for growth in such a role or another, depending on your skill set, talents and passion. At the same time, a mentor provides access to their already established professional network. They can point you in the direction of someone in their connection pool, who can help you work on a particular skill. This way, your professional brand is created and continually polished.

The following are applicable tips that could help you find a career mentor.

  1. Identify What You Want

Identify what you want to achieve. You do not expect to approach someone with a vague plan and hope they will be willing to take time out of their busy schedule to help you. Ideally, mentors are people who have succeeded in what they do. This means they are extremely busy people and will only give time to things that are likely to succeed. Mentees who seem to understand what they want are more attractive to mentors than those who still need time to figure themselves out. However, it is possible, especially for entry-level individuals to be confused and to not know what they want yet. If that is the case, approach a mentor with the several possibilities you would like to venture in for their guidance and advice.

  1. Identify Your Potential Mentor

This embroils clarifying one’s career needs and refining them to suit one’s goals. The SMART approach may be a suitable tool to use. Clarifying specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound goals may be the first mile of a thousand others. The greatest achievers in life have made remarkable strides in their careers after someone held their hands. This means that your mentor should be someone you want to be ‘when you grow up’.

They should inspire you, challenge you, stimulate your creativity and push you to tap your fullest potential. Identify what they are good in and what you would like to get from the relationship. It is wise to note that you can have different mentors at the same time. For instance; you can have a career mentor, a spiritual sensei, a life-skills coach, etc. Just ensure that all these interactions are well within what you can manage and set a reasonable time for. It beats logic to overwhelm yourself with coaches whose wisdom nuggets you cannot sufficiently apply in your life.

  1. Reaching Out to a Potential Mentor

The next question to grapple with is where? In countering the where you need to come up with a 1-5 year plan on where you want to be career-wise. This forms a fundamental pathway to finding a career mentor. Many make mistakes of spending a lot of time in finding a career mentor only to change careers later. This is not only a waste of time but shows a lack of direction.

Secondly, locating a mentor is long and tedious as it is stressful. It literally involves stopping a few individuals on the corridor, short elevator pitches and endless emails sent out. Great career mentors can be found in one’s line of work, especially in our workplaces.

In the book Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg likens the process to a character in the book in search of its mother. It is a short story about a bird that hatches from its egg in an empty nest and goes in search of its mother. The little bird asks everyone it comes across with ‘Are you my mother” including kittens, cows, dogs and hens. In most instances, it gets a big No for an answer but rarely relents.

The right career mentor will not simply say a yes but explicit an organic interest to your life, career, interest and you in general.

  1. Nurture the Relationship

Unlike most natural relationships that are two-way, a mentor-mentee relationship is usually one way. It is the mentee’s responsibility to keep it going. Keep your career mentor updated about your progress, initiate chats, express interest in what they are doing. Most mentors lose motivation to maintain the relationship because of this simple concept. It is important to note that the mentor may have a number of other mentees and a workload of duties to juggle with and therefore delegating the role of maintaining a career relationship may seem a bit far-fetched.

The relationship may seem feeble, epitomized by a few answered calls but that should not scare you. Stay on the radar of your mentor by making your presence and admiration known to them. This can be done through retweeting their tweets, liking and commenting their posts in a positive way and the list is endless.

Finally remember, it is perfectly okay to change a career mentor. The relationship is should only be maintained if growth is experienced. Conversely, hopping from one mentor to another may stunt your career progress and it is therefore advised to take time before changing career mentors.

All the best finding your career mentor!

Patrick Githinji
Much like a coin, I have three sides. 1. The Writer I am an epigrammatic writer with a strong proclivity for lifestyle articles. Professionally, I have worked for Buyrentkenya as a copywriter, Mt Kenya Times as a sub-editor and Brighter Monday as a guest writer. 2. The Artist I view the world as a canvas to my limitless imaginations. My creativity is exemplified through poems, music. I.e guitars, Drums, Keyboard and music production. I write poems about life questioning the status quo. 3. The Achiever I am a highly ambitious, industrious individual and an Agri-business Management and Trade graduate (Hons) from Kenyatta University. I am impressively trainable, a fast learner and an ardent team player with a results oriented conviction. I achieve my success by doing common things uncommonly well.
 

53 COMMENTS

    • Hi Millicent,
      Thank you for taking time to read the article.

      Unfortunately, we are not in capacity to choose a mentor for you. However, by checking around your circle of friends you may find someone whom you can relate with as a mentor.

      Also, try networking through groups that are related with your industry and also attending mentorship programmes. Hope this will help you find the right one. ^AN

    • Hi Lucy,
      We are glad to know we inspired you.

      It is very important to have someone to walk with in every stage of your career. Mentor-ship will help you go along way. ^AN

    • Hi Salim,

      We are truly humbled to learn how important our articles are to you. We will stop at nothing from empowering our users. Keep your eyes focused on BrighterMonday! ^AN

    • Hi Beatrice,
      WE are glad that our article inspired you. We’d advice you to check around your circle of friends, a mentor should be someone that you can relate with easily and we believe you have people who you look up to. ^AN

    • Hi Debbie,
      Thank you for taking time to read the article.

      Unfortunately, we cannot choose a mentor for you. However, by checking around your circle of friends you may find someone whom you can relate with as a mentor.

      Also, try networking through groups that are related with your industry and also attending mentorship programmes. Hope this will help you find the right one. ^AN

  1. This has kindly opened my eyes. I have long been looking for such information. I have always envied finding a career mentor. Good enough I have one but lacked the technicalities on how to go about it. Thank you Samuel

    • Hi Victor,
      We are glad you took time to read the article. We trust that it has inspired you and give you a guideline of what to consider when looking for a mentor. ^AN

    • Hi Victor,
      We are glad you took time to read the article. We trust that it has inspired you and give you a guideline of what to consider when looking for a mentor. ^AN

    • Hi Jemila,
      We are glad we inspired you.

      WE wish you the very best in your career journey. Keep it here for more. ^AN

    • Hi Jackline,

      We are glad we inspired you. We encourage you to find that one person who will drive the positive energy in you. Keep it here for more!^AN

  2. Thank you brightermondau. I have looked for one 20 years down the line all after college. I missed but this is of much help to develop my kids who āre winding up college trainings now. Thanks once more.

    • Hi Juntus,
      We are glad to know that we have inspired you. However, we cannot find you a mentor but we can advice you that a mentor should be someone that you can relate with and mostly such people are in our circle of friends.

      Also, we encourage you to network further, this helps in meeting new people who can be relevant to your career development. Lastly, we advice you to develop an interest to attend mentorship talks. They do help a long way in cases where you do not have a direct mentor. ^AN

  3. Hi ,thanks for the good information but i wanted to inquire if your organisation is having any mentors in various field who can assist one who is in need like me.thanks.

    • Hi Betty,
      Thank you for taking time to read the article.

      Unfortunately, we cannot choose a mentor for you. However, by checking around your circle of friends you may find someone whom you can relate with as a mentor.

      Also, try networking through groups that are related with your industry and also attending mentorship programmes. Hope this will help you find the right one. ^AN

    • Hi Korir,
      We are glad that our article has inspired you.

      We strive to give you insightful tips and information. Keep it BrighterMonday. ^AN

  4. I have faced some of the realities you have pointed out up there, thanks for enriching my understanding that am running the right race… It is the way to go about it, thank you brightermonday

    • Hi Abed.
      Wow! we are inspired to learn that our article has empowered you.

      Keep an eye on our articles and learn more. ^AN

  5. Hello,when you are in search of a mentor and probably you have located one,how do you go about?How do you approach him/her?Is it okay if you face him/her and ask them to be your mentor?Or is there a simple way to kick off?

    • Hi Benjamin,
      Thank you for asking.

      When seeking a mentor, first your potential mentor must know how they’ve inspired you. Then, ask your potential mentor he/she can make time to meet up with you.

      If you meet, describe exactly what guidance you are seeking form them and how ready and willing you are to pursue through the advice. Lastly, thank and acknowledge their sacrifice and time to meet up with you. Also, from time to time, you can be checking on them as you update them on your progress. Hope this will help you kick start that journey with your mentor. ^AN

    • Hi Willy,
      We do appreciate your encouragement and such motivates us to keep you updated with all necessary information that inspires you positively. ^AN

  6. these tips are very informative to me..especially the story of the bird that never relents the same will apply to me by Gods’ grace

    • Hi John,
      Thank you for reading.
      We are glad you are enlightened and we wish you a blessed an successful career.

      ^TM

  7. am real encouraged on what u teach us about interviews, what employers want in a CV, and many more i was green but at least have learn something. Thanks again for your great effort to enlighten others

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