What’s the best way to find a career mentor, and what should someone looking for a mentor think about?
To help you discover the best way to find a career mentor, we asked entrepreneurs, business professionals, and fellow mentors for their advice to mentees.
Here are eleven ways to find a career mentor:
- Discover mentors who think differently from you
- Search locally
- Search through social media
- Look within your family
- Seek advice from entrepreneurs
- Having one mentor will lead you to another
- Attend workshops
- Look outside your work
- Online mentor clubs
- Ask hard questions
Discover mentors who think differently from you
When looking for a mentor, it’s important to look for someone that has similar levels of passion as you. Differing types of experience, outlook, jobs, and backgrounds are not deal breakers, but rather can be key elements of finding a good mentor. I’ve learned so much more from people who think and look different than me, compared to those who have been on the same track as me throughout my life. It is important to find someone that knows what it’s like to go all-in on something that truly matters, even if it might seem crazy at first. Passion is powerful! Find someone who has defied odds and found success even when it wasn’t easy, that is definitely a person you want to learn from.
Stephanie Schull, Kegelbell
The best way to find a career mentor is to search locally! Oftentimes, it is much easier to connect with people who work in your immediate area and have a deep understanding of your desired industry in your geographic area. You can find these people at local meetups, conferences, and professional gatherings of any kind. Before asking someone if they are open to being your mentor, ensure that you have identified exactly what your hope to learn from them and how they can best teach you those skills.
Thorin Yee, BestCompaniesAZ
Back in the day, I used to work out of ASU’s coworking space (named, Eureka!) in the Scottsdale Public Library. Every once in a while, there would be a group of mentors from an organization called SCORE who would come in and offer free mentoring services to entrepreneurs. SCORE is a nonprofit resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) that offers free and unlimited mentoring services. If you are searching for a mentor, SCORE can serve as a great resource through their “Find a Mentor” tool.
Brett Farmiloe, Markitors
Search through social media
The best way I have found career mentors in the interior design industry is through social media! I follow other interior designers to be inspired by their designs, processes, or business strategies. I message other designers on a constant basis and have even set up Zoom calls and lunch dates with people that I truly want to learn more from. I have seen it go the other way as well. I love getting messages on Instagram or LinkedIn from young designers looking to start their career. If you are looking for a mentor, my advice would be to never be afraid to reach out. I am completely honored when someone wants me to mentor them, so send that message or make that call, it will go such a long way!
Alisha Taylor, Alisha Taylor Interiors
Look within your family
Sometimes, people have a tendency to look externally for a mentor. But oftentimes, some of the best mentors can exist within your own family. Whether that’s a grandparent who paved the way for the family through entrepreneurship, or a parent who walked in similar footsteps, there are usually insights you can glean from people within a family tree.
Randall Smalley, Cruise America
Seek advice from entrepreneurs
Many business mentors usually are serial entrepreneurs. They’ve probably have failed before, and many know the industry inside out. Thus, they’ll assist you as the entrepreneur in reacting and adjusting to life changes and making decisions holistically, rather than on personal sentiments. After all—your company is your baby, and you’re the most at risk—which sometimes can hinder the decision-making process—especially when there are other stakeholders involved.
Hung Nguyen, Smallpdf
Having one mentor will lead you to another
Apart from the reality that investors support start-ups that their buddies recommend, a good mentor has an infinite network of individuals that will help your career. Since they are already confident in your future, as the need occurs, it just makes sense for them to allow you to reach into their network of people. If you do not have a coach, this is an ability you will not step into.
Eliza Nimmich, Learnt
As an entrepreneur, I rely on a number of external sources for professional development. There are many ways to discover mentors, such as reading books related to your industry and attending workshops. The common thread among these learning opportunities is that they provide information and insights that I do not have from my own experience. A great business mentor can serve a similar role. Your mentor can lend their own experience to helping you make faster, better decisions for your career.
Tasia Duske, Museum Hack
Look outside your work
I found my path by taking advice from mentors and leaders in my company and outside where I worked. Create your own personal “advisory board” of experts who are able to both guide you and push you to become the best version of yourself. While they should make you feel safe, you should never feel comfortable — rather constantly pushed to do more and be more.
Nicole Spracale, Coaching & Consulting
Online mentor clubs
Online mentor clubs can provide guidance to you regarding your career path and everything related to it. Their interaction is usually established through emails, video calls, or videos sent to the mentees’ email ID. Online mentors support mentees by guiding them on how to focus on their progress. Apart from this, online mentors provide detailed feedback to the mentees and help them realize their strengths and weaknesses.
Rameez Ghayas Usmani, PureVPN
Ask hard questions
It is critical to make sure that you look to find a coach or mentor that is right for you when exploring your career. No great person does it alone. You need to make sure that you ask specific questions and not generalized ones in order to make the most out of your time with a mentor. Generalized guidance can easily be found online, but specific to you and your company is different.
Andrew Taylor, Net Lawman