Continuing with our previous post on why having a mentor is a great idea for professional development, we present to you the final two reasons in favor of it!
4. You can follow in their footsteps: Having a mentor translates into having a guide. A guide with immense knowledge, and someone who has already been where you are today. Say you’ve always dreamed of managing your own PR firm—but you’re a little fuzzy on the details of how you’ll get there. Obviously, every career path is different, but having a mentor with your dream job is a great way to figure out what your next step (or four) should be. Maybe your mentor got a degree in marketing, then moved to New York to work at a PR agency. Then he/she spent a couple of years building up a huge network of contacts in the industry before branching out on his/her own. Look at that, your list of goals went from, “Graduate college, become owner of PR agency,” to, “Get marketing/advertising degree, find employment at firm in big city, go to networking events and make lots of connections, build credibility and reputation” !
You can also emulate your mentor in less obvious ways. Is he or she an avid user of social media? If that is something you feel has boosted his/her professional growth, you may do a self-assessment on how you would fare. If you currently work with your mentor, you could try asking to sit in on a meeting or phone call and pay attention to how your mentor interacts with others. Whoever said imitation was the sincerest form of flattery had it right.
5. The requisite confidence booster: We all have those days where it feels like we’re playing hide and seek with our confidence. Meaning, it’s missing in action. However, it doesn’t matter if your mentor has the job you want or a completely different one—he or she can be a great cheerleader, pumping you up when you’re feeling deflated, inspiring you to keep trying or reassuring you that you didn’t just flub up that interview.
As a result, you won’t feel like you’re totally alone trying to navigate in the career world. Because feeling as lost as Hrithik in Lakshya is good for movie, but it’s not so fun in real life.
It can also be incredibly difficult to keep things in perspective when you’re working at your first couple of internships or jobs; after all, you don’t have any experiences to compare them to. You may think it’s a huge deal that you spilled coffee all over your manager’s sparkling white button-up, but she tells you everyone has those moments—and then the protocol on buying your boss a new shirt.
Also, your mentor can push you to take on projects or apply for jobs that you don’t think you’re qualified for. A couple of people in the department you’re interning for are starting a massive rebranding project, and you think you have some valuable insights—but you’re scared of speaking up. If your mentor is just a phone call away, he or she can give you the confidence you need for volunteering!
Agree less? Agree wholeheartedly? Disagree completely? We love hearing from you. Do write in!