Looking for a career mentor? Here’s how to shoot your professional shot

Did you know that mentees are five times more likely to receive promotions in the workplace than people who don’t have mentors? In fact, according to a study on mentorships, 89% of people with mentors feel like their work is valued in the workplace. Through my discussions with various #MCNWorkLife subjects, I have discovered that mentorships or having a mentor can be the secret ingredient to the recipe for success.

Starting a new career journey can be exciting and challenging at the same time. Whether you’re fresh out of university, looking to advance your career, or trying out a new career path, figuring out what you should do and how to do it can be difficult without adequate support.

Having a mentor can lighten the load, provide guidance and support and help you navigate the complexities of your chosen profession. In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of mentoring, how to shoot your professional shot and where to find the mentor of your dreams.

Understanding the importance of mentorships

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Mentorships pave a fast-track path for career growth, fueling rapid development through the dynamic connection between mentor and mentee. In many instances, mentors can vouch for the competence of their mentees and recommend them for job opportunities in the industries they work in.

Beyond job recommendations, having a mentor propels your learning, offering invaluable real-world insights and experiences. This guidance, which might otherwise take years to gather independently, equips you to navigate and avoid potential pitfalls in your career journey.

Also, a mentor can guide you in setting and achieving your career goals. They can help you distinguish between what is realistic and what is not. They can also help you identify and develop the strong and soft skills you need for success in your chosen career path.

Mentorships continue to be valuable today, as they instil essential values in individuals pursuing different career paths. Mentorships have been proven to open doors to useful networks and connections, expand your professional circle and open up new opportunities.

Identifying your mentorship needs

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With a clear understanding of mentorship, its benefits, and its purpose, it is important to understand your personal mentorship needs. Your unique mentorship needs are specific areas you intend to improve on. Whether you’re looking to develop a skill or get guidance in the profession, identifying your mentorship needs will help you effectively streamline your potential mentors to a specific number of people.

How do you identify your mentorship needs?

Self Assessment

Evaluate your capabilities, deficiencies, and career objectives. Doing this will help you determine where you need direction and help.

Defining goals

Clearly outline your short-term and long-term professional objectives. This will assist you in finding a mentor whose knowledge is compatible with your goals.

By assessing your needs and defining goals, you clearly understand what you hope to accomplish from a mentoring relationship, and then you can begin the search for a mentor.

Where to find a mentor

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If you do not have direct contact with people on higher levels of the career path you’re looking to venture into, a quick internet search can help you find just the right person. Thanks to apps like LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter, finding a mentor has become exponentially easier. Through these apps, you can glimpse people’s lives from all walks of life. From career and skill to leisure and wellness, these apps hold all the information you need to start your search for the perfect career mentor.

While speaking to Olajumoke Oyeyemi, a career coach, synergist, and corporate writer, about finding a mentor and all it entails, she told us about her experience with mentorships and how she finds the best mentors in her profession.

“For me, mentorship has helped me make some important decisions and has also helped me stay disciplined.”

Olajumoke also shared how direct and indirect mentorships have been instrumental to her growth and discipline. Through mentorships, she has found ways to remain accountable for her journey and stay on her chosen path while remaining focused on her goals. While she doesn’t have any direct mentors at the moment, she does have a couple of indirect mentors she consistently follows and learns from.

“In my own little way, I engage with them as well. Later, I may send a private message, not necessarily to ask them to mentor me, but I would express appreciation for accepting my connection, especially if it’s on LinkedIn.”

Here are Jumoke’s tried and tested tips for finding mentors that align with her goals and how she establishes a relationship with them.

Do your research

Research the people in your career path who have made significant strides. Ensure that their achievements align with your goals, and try to connect with them on any social platform. Sometimes, you can get lucky and stumble across them on your timeline, especially on apps like Twitter and Instagram that provide content based on your registered preferences.

Study their career progression

With apps like LinkedIn, do this by diving deep into what they’ve done and their strides in their respective fields. This will help you understand their steps to get to where they are.

“I suggest you thoroughly research them and find a topic to initiate a conversation. For instance, bring up an article they wrote or a webinar they presented at. After a few initial discussions, you can then consider requesting mentorship.”

Engage

Engage with their content frequently to get acquainted with them and then, eventually, send a simple introductory message to them. Inform them about your intentions and express your appreciation for their willingness to connect with you on the app you’re contacting them on.

Establishing the mentor-mentee relationship

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While speaking to Stephanie Dadet for MCNWorkLife, she pointed out that mentorship is the best way for her to impact society. Through virtual mentorships, she has helped women build their careers and has even recommended her mentees for job opportunities.

“I do a lot of personal mentoring. From writing to producing and directing, most of the people I mentor are women, and they are primarily writers. I’m lucky enough to bring these people into the field through simple DM mentorship. I always recommend my mentees if I find myself in a position where I can’t do everything independently.”

For Njideka Akabogu, mentoring is of utmost importance because it can affect people’s careers and ambitions. She has directly and indirectly mentored young individuals through apps like Instagram and LinkedIn.

“They reach out to me seeking advice on career-related matters, seeking solutions to challenges they encounter in their professional journeys, or exploring job opportunities. I maintain an open-door policy and am always eager to engage with women, especially young women, as I recognise the importance of mentorship and guidance in our careers. I understand that many of us didn’t have these resources when we were starting out, so it’s personally fulfilling for me to reach back and support those following a similar path.”

Establishing the mentor-mentee relationship from this point is fairly simple. Here’s what you need to do.

Establish clear expectations

Communicate your mentorship expectations and goals clearly. This ensures that all sides are aligned and dedicated to the process.

Regular communication

Maintain consistent communication with your mentor. Set up frequent check-ins to discuss accomplishments and difficulties and get advice.

Show appreciation

Recognise and thank your mentor for their time and assistance. Mutual respect and admiration form the foundation of a great mentoring relationship.

Finding and establishing a mentorship relationship is a huge step towards achieving professional success. With your set goals and motivation to achieve them, having a mentor will set you on the right path to success and even fast-track your journey. With these tips, you will certainly find the perfect mentor and establish the best relationship with them in 2024.

 

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