If you want to advance in your career or transition to a new field, it’s helpful to have the advice of someone who’s already been where you want to go. A mentor can share what they’ve learned on the job as well as the skills and abilities you’ll need to succeed in their field. If you’re ready for some guidance in your career, here’s how to find a mentor in your field:
Attend Local Events to Look for a Mentor
There is no better way to find a mentor than to go where they might be. Attend local events about your industry. If you’re interested in information technology, attend a hackathon. If you want to enter the healthcare field, sign up for a healthcare conference. Or, if you want to join the corporate world, attend a local Chamber of Commerce meeting. Once you find an event or two, here are a few tips to get the most out of the experience:
- Dress Professionally: Make a good first impression by dressing for the profession you want to enter. It demonstrates your determination to take on the role and says you want to be taken seriously.
- Be Friendly: It can be a little scary to just introduce yourself to strangers but remember that every professional had to start somewhere. Smile, be confident and friendly, and just explain that you want to break into their field and would like a little advice. You’ll find that most people are more than happy to talk about their careers.
- Bring Business Cards: You can create your own business card from an online vendor for a very small fee. Take a few minutes to place that order and then bring a handful of cards with you to every event. If you’re worried about a title, you can just use your name or choose one for the career you’ll enter. This will make you look professional and will help your potential mentor remember you.
Join a Meetup to Find Local Professionals
Look for local meetup groups hosted by professionals in your field. Websites like Groupspaces, MeetUp and MEETin all allow you to search for groups in your city or town. This is a great option because if you’re comfortable with the group, you can become a long-term member. You’ll get to know more people in your field and hear different perspectives on how to succeed.
Search LinkedIn for a Mentor
If you don’t have the time to attend any kind of event, don’t worry. You can always use social media to connect with a potential mentor. Set up a LinkedIn profile and open the doors to the millions of professionals who are already members. This is a great option if you’re a little introverted or want to be more targeted in your search. You can look for professionals who are already in your field and have had the career that you want. But how do you reach out to them?
- Don’t Hit the Connect Button: While you can certainly “connect” with your mentor on LinkedIn, don’t just hit that button. Everyone on LinkedIn has someone who wants to connect with them, but if they don’t know you, they aren’t likely to answer your request. Instead, visit the website of the company they work for, and find their contact information. Or find someone who is already in their network and ask for an introduction.
- Email Them: Once you have their email address, send a professional email that asks for a short phone call or Zoom interview so you can learn more about their field and what they do.
Once you find a potential mentor, all you need to do is a have a conversation. You can formally ask them to step into the role or just ask if they’ll be a sounding board when you have questions about your career. Some people will welcome the label, while others will be happy to just have a younger friend in the career they love. They can offer good advice, be there when you face obstacles, and help you put together a sound plan to achieve your career goals. And who knows? Years from now, when you’re happy and successful in your own career, maybe you’ll be a mentor for someone else.
If you’re ready to advance your career through education, contact Charter College. We offer career training programs in Business, Health Care, Information Technology, Veterinary Assistant, and some of the Trades. To learn more, call 888-200-9942.