You might have heard tons of inspirational stories from folks who have managed to find themselves a mentor. This only makes you think, “Okay, how do I get myself a mentor too?” It would be pretty cool to have a person you can talk to about things which you don’t have to explain for hours because this person has already “been there, done that.” But a good mentor is a rare find. You might need to do the following steps before you actually find a person who is ready to devote time to you on a regular basis.
Define your goals
Realizing your exact needs and goals is very crucial to do before you start looking for a mentor. How else are you going to know what person to choose? If you need a bit of general life advice, then, it’s an easier task. But usually, people need mentorship either in business, or their career development, or even something specific like book publishing. In this case, you have to be specific about who you’re looking for. Plus, whenever you approach your future mentor, his/her first question will be, “What goals are you seeking to accomplish with my help? What are your exact concerns and needs that relate to my experience?”
Make yourself a pitch
Mentorship isn’t coaching. It’s free for you, but it costs your mentor time. You need to make sure that when you ask a person to become your mentor, you can show your readiness to commit to a change. You must be ready to actively work on implementing your plans and use the advice you’re going to get from this person. A mentor doesn’t get paid by you, but he/she gets a reward in the form of the impact they’ve done by mentoring you. If you don’t show any evidence of how serious you’re in your intentions to learn from them, they will probably disregard your request.
To make sure your pitch is serious, you have to think of a brief summary of all your previous accomplishments, current job or activities where you’re looking for support, and of course, your goals for the future. You can also include your current strategies for implementing them. This will show your prospective mentor that you’ve already done some homework and you’re serious about getting mentored.
Use offline networking events and social networks
If you know who you’d like to have as a mentor already, then, half of the job is done. All you have to do now is to actually approach them. Send them a direct message on Facebook, write an email, shoot a comment on Twitter, etc. But what if you don’t even have a clue who you’d like to request to be your mentor? You might know your goals and needs, but there is a chance that you simply haven’t met a professional in your field whose experience could cater to your needs. Start searching. Look for events on Meetup or Facebook. You can look for the attendants’ list right on the event platform. This way, you can understand who you can expect to meet there.
Most of the big events even offer their own apps. You can download them and create your own profile, see the list of other attendants, see their profiles too, and even message them inside the app to set up a meeting before, after, or during the event. If you’re not much of a networking lover, go online. Use Facebook and LinkedIn groups. Search for Reddit topics or questions that relate to your area of expertise on Quora. You’ll instantly notice people who’re the most experienced in your niche, the most active, and can potentially agree to become your mentor.
Approach your Human Resources person
If your mentorship need relates to your job, not growing a business, the fastest way to find yourself a mentor might be right where you work. Not all people are lucky enough to have great bosses who can actually be their mentors. In this case, you can finally use your Human Resources (HR) manager’s influence. HR managers usually know everything about everybody in the company. They know your career profile and they can easily “match” you with a person in your company who you can benefit from judging by their current achievements and your current aspirations.
In case you’re worried that your boss might get his/her feelings hurt when you request someone else to be your mentor, you can mention that you want this to be a private request.
Excited about your upcoming job interview? Check out this – 7 Women Share Their Worst Job Interview Fails.