Connecting With a Mentor

By Chloe Stradinger

Everything in life is made more manageable and far more enjoyable with someone to support you. The professional world is no exception, which is why it’s important to have a mentor. This term intimidates a lot of people, but it shouldn’t. You don’t need a scrolling LinkedIn profile or extremely specific and extraordinary career goals to seek the help of a mentor. In fact, that’s what you need a mentor for. A mentor is someone who guides you to become your best self, shares his or her network with you and does it all for nothing but the joy of watching you succeed.

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So how do you get a mentor? A mentor can be a friend’s parent, a professor, a random connection or even someone you stalked on LinkedIn. You don’t have to pursue the exact same job as him or her, but it is important that you respect the person’s level of thinking and professional accomplishments. Plus, you should like your mentor as a friend.

Reach out. In the world of LinkedIn and email, seeking a mentor is easier than ever. While there are many tools available to introduce yourself, nothing beats a good, old-fashioned phone call. This tells your potential mentor that you’re serious about wanting his or her guidance and are bold enough to take action.

Be specific. People like helping people, but a person can’t help you unless you clearly say what you’re looking for. Are you looking for someone to help you build your professional network? Find a new job? Define your ideal career path? Reflect on this so you and your mentor can get the most out of the relationship.

There is no formula for a perfect mentor/mentee relationship. It totally depends on the two of you and the expectations you set. Maybe you email your mentor every month with an update on your life and asking for insights. Or, maybe you meet in person for coffee twice a month. Whatever your method is, make sure you respect the person’s time and always be thankful for his or her mentorship. A thank you note goes a long way.

As the saying goes, no one knows everything but everyone knows something. It’s humbling to ask for help, but even the best of us need it. Albert Einstein, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah and Drake all credit much of their success to their mentors.

A professional relationship can help you succeed, too.

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