Finding a Mentor: What You Need to Know to Find the Best One for You

By Staff Writer Published on December 5, 2016

We can all benefit from the help, advice, and companionship of someone who’s found success in our desired career field.

Whether you’re in college or preparing to enter the workforce now is the time to find someone who can help you get to where you want to be. With such a competitive job market, who you know is more important now than ever before, and a mentor can turn out to be the stepping-stone you need to find yourself on your way to the job of your dreams. These are the four steps to finding the best mentor for you.

1. Find Someone You Admire

Determining who you want to be your mentor can be one of the easiest part of the process. As you meet and get to know someone, it’s fairly easy to identify whether or not they would be a good fit for you.

Much of this will be intuitive. You’ll naturally gravitate toward people who share your interests and aspirations. A good mentoring relationship will organically evolve as you turn to this person for advice and help in furthering your career goals. But be sure they are successful in your desired field and that they are leaders in their respective industries.

2. Know When It’s Not a Good Fit

When you think of a mentor, perhaps you’re not thinking of someone you know, but rather someone you’ve read about in the news, or admired from afar. Asking someone outright, especially someone you don’t know, to be your mentor is a surefire way to get a negative response. If at any point you feel like you have to force conversation, or even force your mentor to make time for you, it’s likely time to cut your losses and move on to someone who has a vested interest in you, and will be available when you need help.

3. Be Someone You’d Want to Mentor

As the age-old rule goes, “treat others the way you want to be treated.” Consider the things you would hope for in a person you mentor, then emulate those qualities and characteristics. Be easy to work with, willing to learn, flexible and respectful. Being a good mentee will make your mentor want to work with you and impart their wisdom.

4. Never Shy Away from a Challenge

You’ll know the relationship with your mentor is strong when they start offering you criticism and even challenging you. This is a pivotal point in your relationship—how you react to criticism and a challenge says a lot about you and will let your mentor know whether or not you’re worthy of more of their time.

Never shy away from a challenge. You chose this person as your mentor because you admire them, and you want to benefit from the knowledge they can impart. Make the changes they encourage you to make and follow their advice—they are the successful ones and definitely know best.

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At CollegeAmerica, we have many excellent instructors and staff who make excellent mentors for students, as they are experts in their given career fields.

Contact us today to learn more about the ways we can help get you on the road to an excellent career.