Why Everyone Wants a Career Mentor and You Should Too
In this article, we define career mentoring, explore the benefits, explain what to look for in a mentor and reveal ways you can find one.
With the workforce becoming more competitive than ever and employees now seeking career development opportunities, there's no surprise that individuals are searching for new ways to achieve their career-focused goals. Whether you're someone fresh out of university and looking for your first official role or someone with years of experience deciding which path is the right way to take your career, there are many options to help you overcome your challenges.
From hiring a coach to taking a course, career development opportunities are endless and something we should all be striving for. Today, we’re going to be discussing the underrated method of achieving career growth, progression and development, which is finding a career mentor. Throughout our careers, we have all heard the term 'career mentoring,' but have never truly understood what it means. In this article, we will define career mentoring, explore the many benefits, and review what to look for in a mentor. We will also look at ways you can find one to help you achieve your goals.
What Is a Career Mentor?
Career mentoring can be described as a mentoring relationship focused on helping the mentee achieve specific career goals and objectives. In this form of mentoring, the mentor is commonly a more experienced professional, providing advice and guidance to their mentee to help them achieve professional growth.
Career mentoring focuses on helping the mentee to strategically plan and direct their career. The mentor helps the mentee with things such as looking for jobs and delivering advice on the most practical ways to tackle challenges they face in their career. Career mentoring is all about pushing the mentee to take the best steps to propel their career forward, supplying them with the tools and resources required to attain their full professional potential.
Benefits of a Career Mentoring
When it comes to mentoring, there are many advantages for both the mentor and the mentee. No matter the sort of mentoring you undertake, you’ll be surprised at some astonishing benefits you’ll see after just a few sessions. For the purposes of this article, we will be highlighting 4 benefits of a career mentoring relationship for the mentee.
1. Gaining Constructive Feedback
Feedback is vital, whether it’s in your personal or professional life, we could all benefit from receiving feedback every once in a while. One of the obligations of a career mentor is to offer their mentees honest feedback to help them succeed.
Receiving feedback allows you to truly comprehend where you can make improvements but also where you’re doing things exceptionally well, this helps you evolve and work on your weaknesses. Whilst feedback can sometimes be mistaken for criticism, this isn’t the case. Feedback allows us to form more satisfactory judgments within our careers, enhance performance and also be motivational.
2. They Have Real-life Experience
A career mentor has been there and had the t-shirt. Typically, a career mentor is a more senior and experienced professional sharing their wisdom with their mentee. One of the biggest distinctions between a career coach and a career mentor is that a career mentor has the background to back up what they're saying. More than likely, a career mentor has been in the shoes of their mentee and has a familiarity with the challenges and hurdles they may be facing throughout their career.
A good mentor should be there to provide the mentee with their own experience and offer support. They should also contribute advice on things such as how to address difficult situations and offer advice on what skills the mentee may need to get forward in their career. Mentors can also supply a diverse perspective on a situation, pinpointing possible areas for growth and communicating their own opinion on what they might have done differently.
3. They Help Their Mentee Network
Networking plays a significant part in not only career success, but also career development. Networking is especially important for fresh graduates, or people changing career paths. During your professional career, it’s paramount to make as many connections as you can to improve opportunities.
A mentor often has numerous connections, and it is advised that they share their connections with their mentee to help the mentee build their own professional network. This will hopefully provide the mentee with fresh opportunities for the future. Networking is highly valuable as it helps individuals build skills and make life-long connections to help individuals on their journey. If your mentor, for instance, doesn’t have any prior experience in a particular challenge you may be facing, they can introduce you to a member of their network who has.
4. Improved Chance of Career Progression and Development
Did you know that Mentees are 5x more likely to be promoted than those without a mentor? This statistic emphasises the importance mentoring can have on an individual's career. Mentoring is all about development, and career mentors are there to help you progress and grow professionally. Having a career mentor is effective at helping you develop and progress within your career for many reasons. The first is that mentors have access to several resources and connections that their mentees may not, these are all important factors that set an individual up for victory.
To flourish within your career, you need to remain motivated. Mentors work with their mentees to ensure they stay on track with things such as fulfilling their goals, expanding their skills and networking. Mentors are there to counsel and support their mentees through any limitations they may face, which results in an increased chance of success compared to doing it themselves.
What to Look For in Your Mentor
Now you know the benefits, it’s essential to understand what to look for in your mentor if you wish to have a prosperous mentoring relationship. When it comes to mentoring, every individual and relationship is unique to the circumstances they face, so finding the right mentor for you is necessary. Finding a mentor with the perfect blend of traits you want may seem like a challenge, but remember, they are out there. Whilst there are some specific traits and qualities you may be looking for, here are 3 that we recommend:
1. They Provide Honest Feedback
This is something particularly important, particularly in a relationship that is focused on growth. Having a mentor who provides honest feedback is a game changer. Whilst a mentor shouldn’t be intentionally hurting the feelings of their mentee when providing feedback, it’s vital to look for someone who can offer constructive feedback that will help you advance.
Whilst we don’t always recommend having a mentor with more experience than you for all mentoring relationships, we do suggest finding a mentor with prior experience and success when searching for a career mentor. This allows them to provide you with direction and support that comes from someone who has already been in a similar situation. Whether they have 2 years or 20 years ahead of you, if they are where you want to be, then they already know the right way to get there.
Now, it’s not always about having a mentor with the most experience and accomplishments. If 2 people are not mutually compatible, then it is unlikely that the relationship will work. When being in a mentoring relationship, it’s all about finding somebody with not only comparable values as yourself, but also someone you feel comfortable being vulnerable with.
Where to Find a Mentor
You know the benefits, and you know what to look for in your mentor, but where do you even find one? Well, you’re in luck because you can find mentors all around you, and we’re going to tell you exactly where to look. 3 places to find a mentor are:
PushFar is the world’s leading mentoring and career progression platform. With over 85,000 professionals across the world, you’re sure to find the perfect mentor for you. The members of our open network are all looking to connect, support and guide each other with the joint goal of helping others develop and flourish. PushFar takes away the awkwardness of finding a professional and asking them to be a mentor because you know they are on the platform to actively support and find mentees. Finding a mentor with PushFar is completely free, so, there's no excuse not to get started!
LinkedIn is a platform full of professionals sharing the latest industry knowledge and news, but did you know it’s also a great place to find and connect with mentors? We do not recommend asking someone to be your mentor in your first message, but we do recommend building a strong relationship with someone before asking them to be your mentor. Don’t be disheartened if they say no, mentoring isn’t for everyone, but most people are happy to offer support.
3. Friends and Family
You’ll be surprised who members of your family and your friends know, that’s why you can ask loved ones around you if they know anyone who can help you meet your career goals. Whether it’s a former boss or a long-distance cousin you didn’t know about, your family and friends know you better than anyone and know exactly who you’d be compatible with.
There are many diverse reasons to search for a mentor, and no matter your reason for finding a mentor, it isn’t as complicated as it seems. With the remarkable advantages of mentoring, it’s truly a shame that many individuals don’t know the significance of finding a mentor, especially for career-related issues.
Now you know what to look for and where to find one, we hope the process of finding a mentor is less overwhelming. If you are interested in learning more about mentoring, you should check out PushFar.