How To Find Your First Career Mentor
A mentor can be invaluable to a new graduate’s career trajectory. Find out how you can strategically snag your first mentor.
It’s no secret that finding the right career mentor can speed up your job hunt and increase your earning potential over time.
If you are a new graduate, a mentor can be invaluable to your career and your network. However, finding the right mentor takes strategy, hard work, and persistence.
What is a career mentor?
According to Idealist Careers:
“A mentor is someone who agrees to share their skills, knowledge, expertise, and professional contacts with you. Mentors can help you set career goals, resolve difficult problems, and make sound career decisions.”
How does a mentor relationship work?
A traditional mentor/mentee relationship is a committed one-on-one relationship. This usually comes about fairly organically - like a senior-level person at work or in your industry that you respect and have the opportunity to seek out regularly for input on issues at work ,or career progression.
The key success factor of a traditional mentor/mentee relationship is that the mentor has the time and interest in mentoring. It's not typically something you ask someone to do for you -- it more often happens on its own as a relationship develops over time.
How do I find a mentor?
#1: Engage with Senior Leaders
You can be open and receptive to a mentoring relationship by bravely engaging with senior leaders. This includes:
Connecting with them over social media.
Sending emails after meetings or speeches thanking them for their insights or comments.
#2: Join Professional Networking Groups
This is a great way to get access to people within your desired career industry.
To get started, find groups online that reflect you personally, or your industry - such as, "women in tech," "digital health startups," or "Bay Area Entrepreneurs."
But remember, joining is only the beginning. Here are some other strategies to help get the most out of networking groups.
Go to group events where you can meet people in your industry.
Research to see if the group offers mentorship programs and apply.
Participate as much as possible.
Volunteer for events and accept a leadership position.
#3 Use Social Media to Build a DIY Mentorship
Social media is available to everyone and can be very useful when looking for your first career mentor, especially if you have fewer real-life connections.
You can create your own “digital” mentorship which can be just as impactful as a one-on-one relationship.
To do this you'll need to curate your own "board of directors" and follow them on social media. Make sure you target those whose expertise is in areas important to you and your career.
Next, consume their content consistently and engage authentically, including but not limited to:
Reading their articles and blog posts.
Watching their Ted Talks and keynote speeches.
Attending their speaking engagements and conferences.
Listening to their podcasts.
Purchasing or sign up for any courses or free resources they offer.
Do all of the above purposefully, systematically and file away notes and any action steps you can use in your career. Be consistent with this DIY method and you may learn just as much as you would from a one on one relationship.
How can I get more help?
Do you need help developing a networking strategy to reach decision-makers, get referred, and learn about job openings?
Our Career Launcher Bootcamp is a 5-day program that gives both seniors and new graduates in-depth training in everything you need to know to find your first professional job.
In our five modules, we will teach you our step by step process to getting your first professional job.
Our bootcamp also includes access to two live Q&A sessions via Facebook each month, a Facebook member group for community support and a blog to follow along for inspiration and motivation.
Learn more today: www.newgradnewjob/bootcamp