While you might think it possible to blaze a professional trail all on your own, the truth is that having a mentor is the kind of boost that can push your career potential farther than you ever thought possible. Unsure? Read on, and learn about some of the different ways in which having a mentor can be a net positive for your career.
Let’s start by defining what we mean when we say “mentor.” In a professional context, your mentor is a more experienced colleague who can provide advice and guidance as you advance through the various stages of your career. They don’t necessarily have to be a co-worker at your organization (though that helps), but they will be able to give you insights on your field that you wouldn’t find from just any old employee.
How a Mentor Can Help
Generally speaking, your mentor is a source of wisdom and advice, guiding you through the many intricacies you’ll encounter through your career. Specifically, though, a mentor can provide some of the following benefits:
Help You Build Resilience
Sometimes, the going gets tough, but if you’ve got a mentor to guide you, they can tell you exactly how you can weather the storm. By imparting their own experience onto you, such as workplace harassment issues, executive employment arrangements, or avoiding sexual harassment, they can grant you some perspective that will light the way through many of the challenges you might face as you progress through your job.
Help You Avoid Mistakes
When you’re inexperienced, there’s a whole lot about the job that you don’t know, and plenty of pitfalls waiting for you to stumble into. With your mentor to bring you up to speed, however, you’ll fall victim to far fewer rookie mistakes than you would have otherwise.
Help You Understand Your Weaknesses
No one is perfect, and no matter where you are in your career it’s helpful to know what your shortcomings are so that you can work on them. Your mentor, thanks to their experience, can help you quickly identify where you might be weakest and provide advice for shoring up whatever holes you may have in your work game.
Helping You Find Opportunities
More often than not, your mentor will have connections, and those connections can help you get further along in your career. If nothing else, having a mentor is one of the best ways you can find opportunities and advance in your field.
Finding a Mentor
Having a mentor can change your career for the better. While some companies may have formal mentoring programs you can apply for, you might also try leaning on your current professional network and seeing if there’s anyone who might want to help. Either way, the value to having a mentor is clear, so be sure you find yours as soon as you can!