In a recent Examiner.com article I discussed the benefits of having a mentor and making it a resolution for 2011. In today’s rapidly changing work environment a mentor can have a huge impact on your career survival. Follow these 6 tips to find the mentor who is the best fit for you.
Six Tips for Selecting Right Mentor:
- Experienced – Your mentor is typically more experienced than you but not necessarily older. Although the latter can be true, he or she should possess knowledge and experience in your career field or a field you desire to enter. As a small business owner, one of my mentors, a journalist and social media expert, Karen Kefauver, is probably 20 years my junior yet possesses knowledge and experience in social media that I need to run my coaching practice. She is an invaluable resource.
- Trusting & Honest – Choose someone you feel totally comfortable opening up to; someone who will uphold confidences. You should be able to tell this person your dreams and aspirations as well as share your more frustrating and embarrassing moments.
- Available – Taking on the role of a mentor is a big commitment for both of you. Be sure your mentor has the time to spend either in person or by phone. It’s best to work out the rules of engagement up front so there are no disappointments down the road.
- Open & Candid – Your mentor should be adept at giving candid feedback when you need it most, as well as giving a good nudge to move you along when you lack motivation. Having someone who agrees with your point of view all the time will not force you to grow and experiment.
- Supportive – You also need someone who can be a cheerleader. Someone who can lift your spirits and encourage you through those difficult times, for example, if you receive a poor performance review. They should also be there for you to celebrate your successes.
- Good Listener – This is the most important quality to have in a mentor and often the hardest to find. While you need your mentor to provide advice and counsel, this person must also know when it’s necessary to be ‘all ears’ and digest what you are saying.
So go ahead and think of who you know that could help guide your career; someone willing to share their experiences and be a friend and confidant. This person will more than likely have been where you are now. And once you discover those shared experiences the road ahead won’t look so daunting. Follow us on Twitter.