Get a career mentor! Get a career mentor!
If you read anything about career advancement, you’ve probably seen the following phrase many times: get a mentor because he or she can help you get ahead in your career.
And it’s true. Here are just a few reasons why.
Develop your strengths, and find some you didn’t know you had.
You probably already know what you’re good at. Let’s say you’re pretty darn good in database administration. Mentors with personal experience can help you develop those skills, possibly taking you to another level. Mentors probably won’t train you but will have a third-person, objective view of your skills. They can help you see where there may be holes.
What’s more, your mentor may see that you’re exceptionally organized, a planner and see the big picture easily. So he or she says “Have you ever thought of project management?” You hadn’t actually! You look into it and determine it’s not for you, but you ask your mentor for advice on showcasing that skill to impress your boss and land a promotion.
Discuss difficult situations and/or decisions.
Sometimes we truly can’t see the forest for the trees. That is, we’re so caught up in our stuff and all the details that sometimes we can’t see outside our own situations.
A third party – someone who’s not involved in whatever situation is troubling you – can help you see ways out and how to improve things. Your mentor can act as a sounding board and/or give advice.
This is especially true when you need to make some important/hard decisions because a mentor who has 10 or more years more work experience than you more than likely has survived similar situations and can coach/advise you through the decision-making process.
Expand your career network.
Your mentor has been working for a while and likely has more experience. He or she is further along in his or her own career progression and undoubtedly knows people at a “higher” level than you. Once you’ve been in your mentor/mentee relationship for a few months, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask if your mentor would be willing to introduce you to members of his or her network.
In fact, you may never even have to ask! Many mentors take it upon themselves to introduce the people they’re mentoring to a few people they know. If your mentor volunteers to do this for you, make sure you say yes, and make sure you take the meetings if he or she arranges them.
Keep you on track.
A mentor will help you discover what you really want in a career. He or she will help you focus on not only what you want, but also help you decide what you don’t want.
Your mentor can also help you set up a process to move you toward your goals. Many of us have many ideas as to what we’d like to do, but they’re in a bit of a jumble and if we do decide on one direction, we may not know the best first step.
Your mentor will help you choose among your desires and then help you craft a plan to reach the one(s) you decide to pursue. He or she also – and possibly most importantly – will help keep you accountable as the “Oh, look a shiny object! I need to check THAT out” idea/goal inevitably appears.
We walk our own talk here at Matlen Silver.
So here we are telling you “get a mentor, get a mentor!” But do we actually provide mentors for our consultants? Yes, we do! Our mentorship initiative is called the Excel Program. We offer it to our consultants to nurture education and training related to their employment with us while on assignment.
In the Excel Program, we appoint consultants with an on-site training lead who provides coaching and guidance for a set period of time (which could be as long as you’re employed with us if needed). You and your training lead meet weekly for discussion and to gauge how you’re doing. These meetings are documented and placed in your personnel file with us. We also have an online version of this program to further nurture communication.
Would YOU like a career mentor?
Then what are you waiting for!? Check out our current opportunities and get in touch with us. Even if you don’t see a position that piques your interest, contact one of our recruiters and let us know of your career and job interests.