Whether you are a high school or college student, having a mentor can be super valuable. An exceptional mentor provides an abundance of wisdom, encouragement, and feedback on your personal and professional growth. Don’t sweat it if you’re nervous to ask someone to be your mentor; most people will be flattered and would love to help! If you want to experience the benefits of having a trusted adviser, check out these suggestions:
1. Know where to look
Some examples of people who would serve as valuable mentors include current or former professors and supervisors from your job or internship. If your college has an organized mentorship program or alumni networking groups, that’s a perfect place to start. For high schoolers, if you see a really awesome presenter at your school’s career day, be sure to stay after, introduce yourself, and ask for their contact information. They would probably love to take you under their wing! With all this being said, don’t be afraid to find a mentor outside of the classroom or workplace. You can find a suitable advisor within business associations, non-profit organizations, religious groups, or even your family.
2. Formulate clear expectations
Finding a mentor can help you sharpen networking skills, show you the ropes of a particular industry, and even introduce you to some of their contacts who may be able to help you further. Specify the role you want your mentors to play in your career and daily life. Tailor the relationship based on your goals. Depending on what you need, it may be a monthly phone call, a weekly lunch, or a reliable email agreement. Write all of your objectives down and create a proposal for your mentor, so that you are both on the same page.
3. Set up a meeting
It may feel daunting to simply ask someone straight up to be your advisor, so ease into it! Start by scheduling a meeting with your prospective mentor, and ask them for advice. If the two of you click well, don’t be afraid to ask. Once you have a mentor, be sure to take into account their availability and establish a consistent routine with subjects you would like to discuss. Remember that your mentor is taking their time to help you out, so always come prepared and treat him/her with the utmost respect.
4. Keep in touch
After you graduate, continue to check in with your mentor and keep the relationship going! Reach out with emails, and ask questions if you have them. Brainstorm activities or exercises that you can do with your mentor. The more you maintain contact, the closer you will be, and that could result in a long, treasured friendship.
5. Pay it forward
Pass on the kindness and become a mentor yourself! No matter your age, you can help students younger than you. Whether you are in high school or college, there are opportunities to become peer mentors and positive role models for the younger classes. When in doubt, stick to our motto: “Be the person you needed when you were younger.”
With these tips, you will be on your way to finding the perfect mentor that will expand your network and give you remarkable career advice. We wish you the best of luck!