Career Advice

What Is a Career Mentor, and How Can I Find One?

Manda Milling Posted by Manda
min read
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I was asked if I had a mentor. What is this, and how do I go about getting one?

That's a great suggestion and one you should embrace. Basically, a mentor is someone you can run things past, who maybe can provide you with insights outside your direct manager's responsibilities. A mentor is someone who is totally objective about you and your abilities and can be quite candid with you. Even if your current employer doesn't have a formal mentor scheme, you should strongly think about a career mentor relationship. How the mentor relationship works is totally up to you and your mentor. At people2people, it's usually an informal meeting over coffee, about once per month. Getting out of the office can free up the conversation and takes you away from the manager/employee feel of a meeting room. How you select your mentor is totally up to you. It may be a manager from another division, even a former manager you worked with, or a high performer whom you have long admired. In short, someone who has really had an impact on you (even if they don't know it!). They need to be able to give you a bit of their time and be generous with their knowledge. 

The best mentors will usually have no trouble accommodating this into their quite often busy lives. I have carried mentors with me throughout the different careers that make up my working life, and now I'm delighted to have been asked to be one too. Sometimes we don’t get in touch with each other for months on end, other times it may be a weekly chat. It all depends on what is happening at the time.