Why You Should Start the Search for a Mentor Today
The advice and guidance of a mentor is a wonderful resource that can help you throughout your personal and professional life.
With January being National Mentoring Month, it's the right time to search your networks and seek the advice of someone who's been in your shoes and worked their way up the ladder.
Connect with Important People
In a recent interview with Mashable, CEO and founder of Lover.ly, Kelle Khalil, said this about mentors:
"As someone who is personally invested in your success, your mentor will open up their network to you..." -- Kelle Khalil
A mentor may possess the contact details of some of the most influential and successful people in your industry. They've networked for years, so they've built up quite a directory and may be willing to share. However, you must remember that their time is valuable, so it's important to be prepared with specific questions and areas where you need guidance, so they know who to put you in touch with.
Learn Skills in Leadership & Project Management
Project management and team leadership can be key to achieving business goals. Your mentor’s hands-on experiences and industry-knowledge can help you to learn how to lead a time and ensure that your projects receive rave reviews. They can also help identify areas where you have room to develop or take your project one step further. This type of advice is invaluable and can help to eliminate setbacks and costly mistakes.
Make Choices that Benefit You
Mentors have witnessed trends come and go, so they know their respective industry's best practices. They can also spot bad advice and fads that are likely to leverage ill results. If you talk to them about your goals -- both long-term and short-term -- he or she can help you devise the best plan for achieving them, including how continuing your education could help your career. He or she can assist you in navigating the path to success in your industry while avoiding the more common pitfalls.
Where to Look for Your Mentor
Before you start your search to find a mentor, decide what you need help with. Begin by creating a list of goals and expectations that will help you to narrow down the number of potentials. Next, research the most authoritative voices in your field. Once you've gathered them, contact them one by one (preferably by email or social media). Don't get discouraged if a few don't respond; this is common. However, once you get a response, keep the conversation flowing! Ask if it's okay to continue coming to them for advice—many of them will welcome the invitation and may provide additional contact details.
If you're finding it hard to locate a mentor online, try these other places to make a connection:
• Conferences and Seminars
• Alumni Groups
• Trade Associations
• Your Current Company
When you find the right mentor in your industry, you can establish a relationship that’s fruitful and enjoyable for the both of you!