The concept of a “career mentor” is a fairly recent phenomenon that has gained a lot of traction given the difficult state of the job market over the last six years. Like other mentors, these figures provide guidance, advice, and lived experience, but in the specific context of a career. Professionals, even those that are gainfully employed, are turning to career mentors for these reasons:
- Help identifying what they are truly passionate about
- Guidance when considering a job/career change
- Advice from someone that has been there and done that before
- Support during times of uncertainty, doubt, or unemployment
- Connections to other professionals and industry resources
- Encouragement and strategies to achieve professional excellence
The specific role/duties of a career mentor will depend entirely on the person being mentored. There is no one-size-fits-all approach for obtaining professional success and happiness. But with the help of a dedicated career mentor, all professionals can get more out of their working lives. Look for the following criteria in any mentor you choose to work with.
- A willingness to share their experience, expertise, wisdom, and skills
- A positive outlook on life generally and your career specifically
- An investment in your professional success and personal happiness
- An authority and level of accomplishment that you respect
- A commitment to personal growth and an unending curiosity about employment/industry issues.
- A strong communicator equally adept at delivering praise and criticism
- A desire to learn from others, no matter who they are or what their perspective is
It can be difficult to find someone that possesses all those qualities off the bat. Just keep in mind that a relationship with a career mentor is one that evolves over time. The better you come to know one another, the richer and more relevant the mentor’s efforts become. Don’t be afraid to partner with someone you’ve never met as long as they are willing to put in the time and effort to make their advice relevant to your career.
The final and perhaps most important quality to look for in a career mentor is someone that can help you make connections. Advice is great, but action is what counts. If your mentor can introduce you to decision makers, get your foot in the door of new companies, and help you evaluate your career with the goal of making a change, they contribute tremendous value. That is what makes the professionals at Selectek so unique. We are both career mentors, and recruiters, helping our clients to meet their goals ahead of schedule. Contact one of our mentors today to learn more about what we can offer.