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How a Mentor Can Accelerate Your Career

By: Elisha Hartwig via Mashable
April 28, 2013


At the beginning of your professional career, everything in front of you can appear daunting. During these formative years, you are deciding what you want to do, who you want to be and where you are going to start. Many of us change our minds about our future career before we hit the workforce, and then there are, of course, job changes throughout your career.

The overwhelming stress of this phase can be alleviated by finding a mentor to give you guidance and help you achieve your career goals. Learning from a successful mentor in your field of interest can elevate both your professional capabilities and confidence better than any Internet search results or well-intentioned parental advice.

Read on to learn more about the benefits of having a mentor in this competitive job market, as well as tips on how to find a mentor.

What a Mentor Offers

The most obvious benefit of having a mentor is learning from their real-life experiences in the field. You will be privy to their personal tips for overcoming professional challenges, making difficult business decisions or determining whether graduate school is a good investment. Because they know you, mentors and their wealth of knowledge will be far more useful than generic advice columns on the web.

For Fran Hauser, president of digital for Time Inc.‘s Style and Entertainment Group, being a mentor entails giving relevant and immediately actionable advice. “It can be as simple as suggesting people to follow on Twitter to stay ahead of digital trends, or being a mentor can mean walking someone step-by-step through negotiating an offer. What is most important is that I am accessible and honest in my guidance.”

In addition to gleaning insight from your mentor’s personal experiences, you could also benefit from their vast web of connections. If your mentor doesn’t have experience with a particular problem you’re facing, they’ll probably reach out to someone who can help. Also, you never know how certain connections will be beneficial in the future — anyone you meet could be a potential business partner or a job lead.

Kellee Khalil, CEO and founder of Lover.ly, told Mashable about the benefits of having a mentor who is widely connected.

“Your mentor’s network is your most valuable group of contacts. As someone who is personally invested in your success, your mentor will open up their network to you. Just be cognizant of everyone’s time — make sure you ask for specific advice or introductions. Don’t let them do the work.”

How to Find a Mentor

It’s a lot easier to find a mentor than you would think. Before you start your search though, it’s good to do some preparation. Read more>>