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7 Benefits of Having a Mentor (And How To Find One in 2021)

Why you should get a professional mentor and how to find one.

Have you ever considered the value of having a mentor? Maybe you have but aren’t sure how to go about finding one? Either way, relax – you’re in the right place.

In this post we take you through the key benefits of having a mentor and identify three possible routes for lining one up.

A mentor will guide your development

If you’re not sure what you want to do with your life, a mentor will help you make sense of your skills and point you in the direction of industries and job roles that could be a good fit. 

If you know where you want to get to but aren’t sure how to get there, they’ll give you practical self-development tips and ideas for how you can take your skills and experience to the next level.

A mentor will act as your hype-man/woman

Seek out a mentor with a large network and, providing you impress them with your skills, enthusiasm and knowledge, they will happily pass on relevant job opportunities or tap up their contacts to see who’s looking for talent. It can be like having your own personal recruitment consultant, for life!

A mentor will help you practise for interviews

It’s one thing preparing for an interview on your own, it’s another having someone to play the part of the interviewer and give you feedback on the spot about your answers. Particularly if they are more senior, they’ll most probably have lots of personal experience to pass on too about what kinds of questions are likely to be asked as well as what kinds of answers have worked for them in the past.

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A mentor will help you avoid common career mistakes

We all make mistakes early on in our working lives, whether it’s staying in a job too long or not being brave enough to ask for more money. Having regular access to someone that has been-there-and-done-it will ensure you avoid a lot of the common missteps and progress a lot faster than you would have otherwise.

A mentor will give you insider knowledge

No matter how much research you do, there are some things about the world of work that are impossible to know from the outside looking in. 

If you have a mentor that is well connected and immersed in the industry you are looking to break into, make sure to ask their opinion about specific companies, jobs and people – often they’ll be able to share something you can use to your advantage.

A mentor will help you stay committed and motivated

A weekly or monthly session with a mentor effectively acts as a “forcing function” – because you’re more likely to do the things you need to do for your career if there’s someone checking in on your progress. 

If you’re struggling to hit your goals, speaking to someone that has gone through similar struggles and come out the other side will help you stay motivated and positive about the future.

A mentor will listen to you

We live in a world of interruptions and short attention spans. 

Having someone senior “actively listen” to what you have to say and give you the space to share your frustrations and successes is hugely beneficial, particularly when you’re new to working life and feeling like a small fish in a very big pond. It will boost your confidence and help you communicate with more senior colleagues at work.

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Three Ways to Find a Mentor in 2021

Sold on the benefits of having a mentor? Now it’s time to find one of your own – here are three ways to do it.

Sign up to a mentoring programme or platform

These are difficult times for those starting their careers and since the pandemic more and more people have signed up to provide support and mentoring through official channels like The Youth Group’s MentorMe programme or platforms for specific industries like ADPList (Design), Meet a Mentor (Software Development) and Mentoring Women in Hospitality. Find the platform or scheme for you and sign up!

Find someone in your network

If you have a friend, family or former colleague that you trust on work matters, why not get in touch to ask for their support? You can keep it quite casual at first and then if it’s working, ask for a longer-term commitment.

Approach someone else

If there’s no-one relevant in your own network, it’s time to cast your net a little wider. Do some research and find some people that are in a similar position to where you would like to be in ten, twenty years time, then connect with them on social media and send them a message explaining your admiration for them and asking if they would be willing to provide a little support.

Don’t be shy – people like to give advice and feel like they are paying their skills and experience forward.