You come to work on time. You get along with your coworkers. Your resume beams with accomplishments. Yet you can’t seem to take your career to the next level.
While you may think you have everything you need to advance in your career, without the right people behind you, those accomplishments may fall flat. The secret weapon to helping you reach your potential? A mentor.
Over the years, the need for a mentor for professional development has been on the rise. A recent poll shows that over 80% of women in the Washington, DC area do not have a mentor. Out of that group, 98% agreed that a mentor is critical to their career development. This article will explain how a mentor is the secret weapon you’ve been looking for.
A mentor is a critical component to reaching your Girl Boss goals. Depending on where you are in your career, you might have one mentor or a series of mentors all with a genuine interest in seeing you reach your potential. A mentor is not your happy hour buddy; mentors are there to help you develop in ways you could not on your own. They evaluate your current career situation and identify upcoming roadblocks. Your mentor should be someone who “gets” you, meaning you have similar personalities and can have a comfortable conversation.
Now that we’ve defined a mentor, here is how a mentor will help you:
Mentors have years of experience readily available to share with you. Learning from their experiences, including mistakes they made early in their careers, how they reached their current position, and details on how they manage teams, are just some of the valuable knowledge you can gain from a mentor.
Goal setting support
Mentors can identify ways you can reach your goals successfully and quickly. Mentors know what it takes to achieve career goals and will help you create a plan that will keep you moving forward.
Expand your network
Mentors can connect you to others in their network that can also help you reach your goals. Mentors are not superheroes – they will not know everything. But being able to introduce you to people, videos and readings that will help you learn a new skill is just as essential. For example, if you’re a graphic designer and you want to develop your video editing skills, your mentor may be able to connect you to a professional videographer within their network. That way you can learn from someone with years of experience in that particular skill. Through their years of professional experience, mentors have a vast number of contacts that may be equally interested in helping you.
While your mentor is not your weekly happy hour companion, you should still expect honest and direct feedback. Mentors understand that sugar-coating will only hurt your career development. As such, they will tell it like it is, leaving very little question on their thoughts and advice for your career.
Successful leaders know that a mentor can be the one asset that helps you get the most of your career. Mentors have the inside scoop on how to stay ahead in the workplace. Keep an eye out for someone further in their careers with a genuine interest in helping you, listening and introducing you to other contacts. They might be the secret weapon that takes you to the top.