Whether you’re just starting out in your career, or if you’ve been working for a while, there’s almost always someone out there who has had more experience. So why re-invent the wheel? Tap into their knowledge and experience, and benefit from the lessons they’ve already learned.
Here are seven reasons why you should seek out a mentor with passion and leadership experience either within your own organisation or from within your industry:
1. Two heads are better than one:
Whether you’re making important decisions, recovering from mistakes or celebrating achievements, a mentor is your ultimate sounding board. They will give you a fresh perspective based on their own experience, boost your confidence when you have doubts, celebrate your achievements and help get you on track when things don’t go as planned.
2. Accountability from your mentor:
One of the most important benefits of a mentor is they will help you to set career goals and achieve them. It’s easy to let a goal slip to the side if no one else knows about it.
3. They’ve ‘been there and done that’:
If you’re navigating tricky new territory in your workplace, chances are that your mentor has probably had to navigate a similar situation at some point in their past. They can share their advice on how best to manoeuvre through a sticky situation, and lessons they’ve learned through similar experiences from their past.
Having spent some years ‘on the job’, your mentor will have met many colleagues and clients that have become their business network. It may take you a while to develop a contact list as long as your mentor’s, but in the meantime they can help you to grow your network by introducing you to relevant people who can share job opportunities and advice.
5. They can help you develop your skills:
You should choose a mentor who is working in a similar industry or position to that which you aspire to work in. Your mentor should be someone who inspires you with the success of their career and whose professional achievements you might hope to emulate. They’ll have learned a lot and developed many skills along the way, and they’ll be able to guide you towards the best ways to learn the skills you’ll need to achieve similar success.
6. The little things:
You may have studied for years and honed your technical skills and talents to perfection. But once you land a job and start working with others, there will be a lot of other protocols and routines of etiquette for you to pick up on in your workplace. Your mentor can save you some time by sharing tips on all of ‘the little things’ like dress codes, best practice for sending professional emails or making business phone calls, how to conduct yourself in a meeting, or the most polite way to interrupt somebody to ask them a question.
7. New opportunities:
Your mentor is out there in the big, wide, business world. They’re chatting to colleagues, stakeholders and clients on a day-to-day basis. That puts them in a prime position to hear of upcoming opportunities, professional development events, job vacancies, and so forth. They can put in a good word for you to recruiters and hiring teams with whom they have already built a relationship. Once you’ve landed an interview – they can give you interview tips, and advice on negotiating a salary. And most importantly, they can help you decide when to accept an offer and identify the best opportunity for you!