Mistakes We Make When Looking for Job Mentors

May 23, 2014 | The ONE Thing | 0 comments

mentor2Job mentors make it much easier to identify the steps you need to take to get where you want to be in your career. Being able to tap into their experience – in hindsight – is invaluable and can make all the difference in the world when it comes to attaining your ideal job. Unfortunately, we often make mistakes in our search for a mentor. Here’s a look at the most common blunders and how to avoid making them.

Mistake #1 – Looking for Just One Job Mentor

One of the first mistakes we make in our job mentor search is assuming that there’s a single person who can direct us down our professional path. In actuality we should have numerous job mentors throughout our career.

Ways to Avoid

Look for someone that can help you with your immediate needs and hitting goals that are a year out. They will likely be a peer that understands from firsthand experience what you’re trying to achieve and how to achieve it. Also line up a mentor that can help you reach 5-year goals and really catapult your career. This will be a professional relationship, and the mentor should be someone in a more senior level position. Ideally they are currently where you’d like to be in five years, whether it’s at your office or simply within your industry. Finally, look for that long-term mentor. This is someone who will help you along the way throughout your entire career. They provide insight on the really big decisions and help you to see the entire picture. Don’t be surprised if you end up with a few long-term mentors over the years.

Mistake #2 – Not Having Our Goals Laid Out

The second mistake we make is not knowing what we want to get out of our jobs. In other words,what our goals are for a year out, five years out and beyond. If you don’t know what you’re trying to attain, it will be difficult for a mentor to provide guidance.

Ways to Avoid

Once you’ve defined your ideal job you can then create career goals starting with how to move into a more purposeful position. Having this done will help guide you toward the best mentor, who in turn, will be able to help you connect the dotted line to hit your target.

Mistake #3 – Not Being Prepared to Talk

Your mentor’s time is precious, and they are going out of their way to provide you with their advice and expertise. So, showing up unprepared should not be an option.

Ways to Avoid

Prepare for each meeting with questions and talking points that you want to cover. Not only is your mentor’s time precious, but so is your job and career. Before each meeting, set an agenda and send it to your mentor. This will give both you and she time to review, contemplate and be ready to have a purposeful conversation that leads to productive outcomes.

Mistake #4 – Not Nurturing the Relationship

Mentorship is not a one-way street. Rather, it’s a key relationship that could last a lifetime and both parties involved should learn a great deal from. Of course it’s easy to be caught up in the “what can you offer me” game. But think twice about the type of relationship you want to build, and act appropriately.

Ways to Avoid

It’s important that you nurture the relationship you have with your mentors, so that it is rewarding for both parties. Show your appreciation early on and often. Give honest feedback as to how the conversation is going from your perspective Do what you can to help your mentors when they face a challenge. And, keep in touch in the interim. Don’t wait for your monthly meetings to give your mentor updates. Shoot a quick thank you note with a heads up on your next interview or a new company you’re jazzed about. Going the extra mile will keep you top of mind and help build your network.

Have you run into any other mentor finding mistakes? Share your thoughts and advice with us #theONEthing.


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