As emerging young professionals, it is helpful to have a mentor in your prospective field. A mentor can help you with networking and navigating your industry. Finding a mentor can be hard, but deciding if he or she is the right mentor for you does not have to be. Ask yourself the five questions below when you think that you have found the mentor for you.
1) Does he or she know your field of work?
If you are going to school to be a surgeon, you would not want your mentor to necessarily be a teacher. The same goes for careers in politics. Find a mentor who works in your respective field or at least has a significant amount of knowledge and connections within it.
2) Is he or she committed?
Being a mentor is not an easy task. When selecting someone to be your mentor, you should ensure that this person is willing to put in the time to help you navigate the work force. It is also important to note that while you are asking for a lot from a mentor, you as a mentee must also be willing to put in the time and work with your mentor.
3) Has he or she mentored others before?
While this question does not require a “yes” response in order for someone to be considered a good mentor, it can certainly help reveal some aspects about your prospective mentor. On a baseline assessment, mentoring other individuals shows you that this person is experienced in doing so and knows what he or she is doing. Additionally, the success of a mentee reflects the success of a mentor.
4) Are you comfortable with this person?
Your mentor is someone you will talking to often – whether it be in person, email, or on the phone. Either way, it is important that you are comfortable with and able to trust this individual. Mentor-mentee relationships are often lifelong. Trust is not something you want to compromise on, even if your possible mentor is an accomplished individual.
5) Is he or she experienced?
Your mentor should be someone who has experience in the work force. You are looking for tips and tricks into success. It would not be very helpful to have a career mentor who has little to no experience in the workforce. Look at your potential mentor’s resume and see if his or her past experiences will be beneficial to your future ones.