You may have heard that working with a mentor can accelerate your growth in your career. A mentor can streamline your learning process and help you stand clear of the pitfalls that most people without a mentor go through. However, trying to find the right mentor can be a challenge. Use these tips to help you in selecting one.
It seems obvious that a good mentor should have integrity. However, some people look good on the surface, and deep down they won’t take the relationship seriously, or worse, will throw you under the bus.
Knowing whether a person has integrity is going to take some detective work. You may want to ask questions of others who know the potential mentor. If something is not right with the person, others will clue you in on their experiences. Try to find out some information online about the person. Use search engines, ask questions in forums, ask questions on social networks. Your research might take a little while, but it will be time well spent.
Mentors should also have a good knowledge base. You don’t want to find a mentor who has never experienced what you are trying to learn. Some people are good at pretending. However, when you come across situations that require certain expertise, these people will fall short. To know whether a potential has the necessary knowledge base, try to get references. Again, online information may uncover the truth about your potential candidates.
At first, you may believe you should choose someone who is like you. However, sometimes the best mentors are those who are different from you. They offer a diversity that you would not get from someone similar. You will gain a perspective of someone different than you.
Try to find a mentor who is well connected. It’s great if a mentor is knowledgeable about your field. However, if they have a good network, this will advance you quicker than someone who does not network well. Your potential mentor can hook you up with the right people at the start rather than getting you into situations that won’t work for you.
You can choose whether to find a mentor to pay or someone willing to help you for free. Both situations have advantages. Whether you find a free mentor or one you will pay, make sure you spell out the agreement ahead of time. Ask what they expect of you and mutually determine who is responsible for what. A good mentoring arrangement measures the success or failure. Otherwise, you have no way to know if it is working out.
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