Research has shown that having a mentor can help boost your salary and your happiness, so if you don’t have one yet you should be on the hunt for one.
FinePoint Digital PR CEO Meredith Fineman has had plenty of mentors throughout the course of her career and offers five tips for finding one.
- Do your research. Identify someone you admire, and then learn all you can about her career and read up on her most recent work. You may not get your hero as your mentor or even get to meet her, but you may find someone with similar experiences and qualities that will be a great fit for you.
- Look outside your field. A lot of the professional skills you need to do well in your career are universal, so you don’t necessarily need a mentor in your chosen field. Look to people you know socially, and focus on those whose careers and drives you admire—regardless of their field.
- Avoid the “M word.” Yes, you’re looking for a mentor, but some people hear that word and think it implies a lot of pressure and responsibility, so you want to use it carefully or avoid it altogether. Instead, try saying you admire his advice and would like to continue the conversation about … (something specific about the career topic you’re interested in discussing).
- Respect people’s time and be realistic. Everyone is busy, so you want to respect your mentor’s time. Send updates and check in from time to time, but keep it within reason and don’t be a pest.
- Give something back. Just because you look up to your mentor doesn’t mean you have nothing to offer. Share your ideas with her.
— Adapted from “Feed Your Career Octopus: Tips for Finding (and Keeping) Awesome Mentors,” Meredith C. Fineman, Fast Company.
Online resource: Establishing an effective mentoring program in your organization can help less-experienced individuals learn and grow faster and give more seasoned professionals renewed enthusiasm for their careers. Find out how with our white paper.