Experience is an invaluable tool that you’ll need more and more of as you progress throughout your career. Especially if you’re just starting out, finding opportunities or things to learn from is crucial for your success as a professional. By working with a mentor, you can gain incredible insight from someone who has much more experience in your field or industry. Not only can mentors provide strong guidance and advice, but they also offer opportunities to expand your network.
Though, the hardest part when it comes to mentors is actually finding one who wants to train you. If you’re in the position where you need a mentor and don’t know where to start, look in these places:
1. Industry Events
This is especially useful if you’re looking for guidance in a particular area of your industry. You can find plenty of people with bountiful experience at meetings or special events with professional speakers. I would also recommend looking into events for network-building with people from other companies – you have a lot of opportunities to branch out here.
Overall, if you already have an idea of the direction you want to go in, I would start here.
2. Online Mentoring Programs
The internet is home to countless mentoring opportunities, providing experienced professionals that could be guide you. Not only that, but many of these programs are completely free, allowing you to connect with a wide variety of mentors within your field or industry. From there, you may even be able to start a partnership and work with them in person (I would always be careful, though, especially considering the pandemic affecting the world today). No matter your experience, professional background, or field, there are opportunities out there for you.
3. Online Social Platforms
For social media, I recommend starting with LinkedIn so you can search for professional mentors for the specific categories you’re interested in. At the same time, you can look into their experiences and network, giving you a way to reach out and grow your own network. However, you don’t have to limit yourself to professional social media platforms – you could also try checking out Twitter and Facebook to connect with potential mentors. Many people like to post about what they do across several platforms, so try to check them all out!
4. Community Events (Volunteering)
Plenty of successful professionals like to come to these events to give back to their communities – this makes them a great place for finding new mentors. You can find volunteer events you’re interested in by using websites like Idealist.org or VolunteerMatch.org. If you attend those events regularly, you’ll be sure to connect to a lot of other professionals and immerse yourself in their networks. Not only is there a lot to discover with these events, you even get to help make a difference with the volunteer work you do.
5. Professional Networking Events
While not everyone might be eager to meet with others in-person at the moment, networking events are a fantastic place for connecting with other professionals. Companies are always looking to recruit new people at these events, so it’s worthwhile to check them out and see who will be attending. Even if you’re already working in a company, you can still gain a lot from meeting other professionals in different fields of expertise – people that can join your network and share their experiences with you.
Whatever you’re looking for, don’t give up if things don’t go well the first time – you’re still sure to meet many people that can help you on your career path, even if they don’t become your mentor.
As it turns out, there are many places you can explore if you want to find a mentor. Though, some people might be wondering whether a mentor is really something they need – especially if they’ve been struggling a lot to find one. This is something fair to consider, especially as there are many successful professionals who’ve never had their own mentor.
However, regardless of that, these people still had to learn from many others in their field as they progressed through their career. I want to emphasize this – learning from others, especially those with more experience than you, is vital in the professional world. While some people might already have the experience they need, I strongly recommend you look into mentors or people who can guide you with their own experiences. Otherwise, you’ll be missing out on information and connections that can bring you far in your career. In the end, that decision is up to you.