Choosing a Mentor: the Who, Why and How
Mentors provide the opportunity for someone wiser, smarter, and older to guide you through life. Take advantage of the possible growth opportunity and find a mentor!
Who? Choose someone who you look up to. Someone who has achieved great things and worked hard. Look for the person you want to be in 10-years. Too many people make the mistake of asking someone just above where they are. While that’s great and you can certainly learn from that interaction, you’ll learn even more from the person who has your dream job and years of experience.
Why? Because you’re 20something and no matter how smart you are (or think you are) there’s an abundance of knowledge you have yet to gain. A mentor should be someone who can provide guidance, friendship, life lessons, gentle correction, and above all be an inspiration and encouragement. Everyone needs that person who is there to be on their side no matter what. Everyone needs a professional cheerleader!
How? Ask! It’s a simple as that. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask. You’ll never know until you try. Offer to treat them to a cup of coffee or a meal. Send a well-written email or make a call. Tell them that you want to learn from their experiences and hope they are willing to share their knowledge. Remember, if you’re reaching out to someone who is in a high-up position, they are probably busy and have little free time. Remember this time constraint when asking to meet up and talking about mentorship. Aim for snippets of time. Maybe a coffee meeting every other week or once a month. Being respectful of their time will make you look like a desirable mentee.
Need ideas for possible mentors? As your professors to point you in the right direction.