A Complete Guide on How to Find a Career as a Mentor (With Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated October 7, 2022

Published January 3, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Those who want to improve their careers and be more reliable team members may wonder how to find a career mentor. This process requires knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses, along with your career goals and the elements you prioritize in supervisors or mentors. By knowing how to discover your mentor, you can accomplish your goals more effectively. In this article, we discuss the definition of career mentors, offer a guide on how to find your mentor, provide tips to help you find your mentor, and discuss various types of mentors.

What are career mentors?

Career mentors are individuals within businesses who focus on helping mentees or new hires and who provide individuals with support in their careers. They help mentees with career strategies and career goal planning. They typically share the knowledge and expertise they earned in their careers with others. These professionals recognize that all team members can improve and learn new strategies. They provide advice and support, along with answers to career-based questions. Here are the benefits associated with having a mentor:

Motivation

Mentors help their mentees obtain success in their field or industry by motivating them. These mentors already have significant success in the industry and show mentees how they experienced that, which encourages them to obtain the same success. When required, mentors also provide advice that encourages mentees to continue their trajectory and complete their goals.

Related: 13 Good Mentor Qualities (Plus Tips on How to Find a Mentor)

Feedback

Mentors provide constructive feedback that shows professionals desirable traits within their fields and encourages them to improve. They know when to congratulate professionals on their success and how to assess the capabilities of mentees. When mentors have concerns about challenging situations, they provide mentees with feedback to help them improve and grow.

Related: What is a Mentor? (With Benefits and Useful Tips)

Confidence

Mentors improve the confidence of mentees by showing them how to navigate difficult challenges. They typically have experience overcoming obstacles and can subsequently show mentees the best ways to respond to challenges. These professionals often research innovation and recent technologies, which keeps mentees updated with the best techniques or processes in their industry.

Related: How to be Confident in an Interview (9 Crucial Steps)

Network

Mentors help mentees with their professional network by introducing them to their colleagues and other professionals. They can also provide mentees with information about effective networking events. When required, mentors provide mentees with references for potential job positions or career advancement opportunities.

Related: Guidelines on How to Network

How to find a career as a mentor

Follow these steps to help you discover how to find a career as a mentor:

  1. Determine your goals

When trying to find a career mentor, it's beneficial to determine your goals and identify which aspects of your career you want the mentor to help you with. To do this, you can consider your current job or place of employment and how it reflects your career path. When you identify your position and what it offers, you can determine how that differs from what you want to achieve, along with how a mentor can help you with your goals.

2. Recognize strengths and weaknesses

To obtain an appropriate mentor, you may want to consider your strengths and weaknesses to identify which skills or experience you seek from a mentor. You can conduct a self-assessment of your strengths and weaknesses, along with your personality type, and how those components contribute to the workplace. This shows you which mentor personalities correspond to yours.

3. Identify a potential business mentor

Strong mentor candidates have valuable experience and skills as entrepreneurs, potentially in your field, and provide relevant advice. The traditional method of finding a business mentor is to select a colleague or someone in your local business community who has more industry-related experience than you. Many professionals choose to practice networking to meet others in their fields. Networking in your company or at career fairs is also an effective option.

Online networks have also become a common source of mentors. Depending on your industry, internet mentorship networks can provide a faster way to find potential connections than traditional methods. Here are some qualities to consider in a mentor:

  • Has the time and commitment to the mentorship[

  • Is available regularly whether it be in person or by email, text or phone

  • Has a willingness to listen and ask the right questions

  • Support the mentorship with a positive attitude

  • Open to your ideas and challenges

4. Reach out to your potential business mentor

When you select someone to ask about a mentorship position, contact them and be clear about what you ask. If you plan the initial conversation, it's beneficial to schedule an in-person meeting with them to discuss the mentorship. Speaking in person ensures you have your potential mentor's full attention when you make a proposal.

5. Explain your proposal

When you meet with your potential business mentor, be clear about your professional desires and your belief they can successfully guide you. While you already completed your research regarding the person, ask questions to clarify if your work ethic coincides with theirs. Detail why you chose to contact them and what you respect about their career expertise. This can increase the likelihood of them accepting your offer.

Be prepared to answer their questions about your background, goals and why you are interested in the business career you're seeking. Follow up your meeting with a thank-you letter for their time and interest. If you both agree, this could be the start of a good working mentorship relationship.

Tips for maintaining an effective mentorship

Here are some tips for those who want to maintain effective mentorships:

Keep in touch with your business mentor

Finding the right business mentor takes time, which is why you want to maintain your relationship once you have one. Actively communicating with your mentor helps the relationship develop at a healthy pace. Having the ability to seek your mentor's guidance when you require it is one of the main reasons to establish a mentor relationship. It's beneficial to meet with your mentor once a week or month to discuss progress and challenges. Look to your mentor to gauge the time they might be able to commit.

Apply your business mentor's guidance

Your business mentor has experience in their field, so you typically want to trust them with your career and education within your role. You can also trust them to provide you with honest feedback throughout your mentorship. Your mentor's perspective is valuable and can help you improve your skills and overall work. If your mentor offers detailed help, consider how you can use it productively.

Seek new opportunities

One of your business mentor's roles is to help provide you with tangible and new opportunities in your career. These can range from growing your professional network through events and introductions to earning a promotion or joining another company. Ask your mentor if they can suggest networking opportunities to help you create more connections to advance your career.

Types of career mentors

Here are the types of career mentors you may discover in the workplace:

1. Master of skills

One type of career mentor is one who has significant knowledge of skills within your industry. These mentors are experts and have accumulated significant knowledge and wisdom in the field through both their education and practical experience. They also help you with the identification and realization of your own skills. For example, students in social work may ask their post secondary professors for help with their skill development. These professors typically have significant practical and educational experience, along with research experience that previously resulted in innovation in their field.

Related: Mentoring Skills: Definitions, Examples, and Tips

2. Supportive mentors

Supportive mentors are those who have a positive opinion of you and who communicate that opinion to others. They act as advocates for your needs and goals. Supportive mentors also network for you and connect you with other individuals in your field. This can help you find job positions and help you discuss skills development with others.

3. Anchored mentors

These mentors provide you with confidence and help you think critically about your goals. You may want one of these mentors if you require help to overcome obstacles. Anchored mentors provide you with psychosocial support when you experience conflict or obstacles. They also consider your goals and priorities when mentoring you.

4. Reverse mentors

Reverse mentors require when team members or individuals without leadership positions have an influence over their mentors and supervisors. Mentors can learn new skills from mentees and can observe new viewpoints and opinions. That's why it's important for both mentors and mentees to discuss new ideas and concepts.

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