How to Find a Career Mentor and Why It’s Important

A mentor can help you avoid pitfalls as you maneuver through your career. Jennifer Bridges, PMP, notes how important that relationship is and helps you find a career mentor for yourself.

Here’s a screenshot of the whiteboard for your reference.

ways to get a career mentor

In Review – How to Find a Career Mentor and Why It’s Important

Jennifer began with definitions. Mentor can mean a few different things, so she wanted to clarify its various meanings.

Mentor is both a noun and a verb. As a noun, a mentor is a person with experience who acts as a trusted adviser. Think of them as a guide or guru, if you prefer. They’re confident and can serve as a consultant. When used as a verb, to mentor is to advise or train.

Then Jennifer dispelled a common myth about mentorship. While it might come to mind that a mentor is a person who is older than you, that’s not always true. Yes, a mentor relationship is with someone who is more experienced and knowledgeable than you, but with technology today that person can very likely be younger. Don’t dismiss youth; you can learn a lot from younger people.

Who Is the Ideal Career Mentor?

When looking for a candidate to mentor you, it’s important to find someone who has “been there, done that,” Jennifer said. You want a person who has shown themselves to have achieved success in your industry. That person would be a role model for you, someone you’d like to emulate.

PM Software For Managing Projects with Your Mentor

Why Is Finding a Career Mentor Important?

  • A mentor can help you train towards specific knowledge and expertise that is crucial to your advancement.
  • A mentor can show you the ropes, so you’re not facing challenges blindly.
  • A mentor will share their lessons with you, offering tips and best practices based on their personal experience.
  • A mentor helps shorten the learning curve when moving up the career ladder in ways that research and book knowledge can’t.
  • A mentor sets you up for success by offering their experience as a guide.
  • A mentor opens doors by providing recommendations and referrals.

How to Find a Mentor

  1. Study your industry or profession.
  2. Follow people of interest.
  3. Research online, such as on LinkedIn and similar social sites.
  4. Ask others for referrals.
  5. Reach out and network.

Jennifer noted that sometimes a mentor might seek you out, as they look to give back to the industry, but don’t wait for that to happen. Be proactive.

Jennifer ended by suggesting the following protocol for when you do find a career mentor:

  • Commit to the person
  • Be responsible
  • Be respectful

Pro-Tip: Finding a career mentor can be a little different if you’re a woman. It’s good to understand that there is a network of like-minded women out there who can help.

Thanks for watching!


Today, we’re talking about how to find a career mentor. But first I want to clarify what a mentor is.

So a mentor is an experienced or trusted advisor. Sometimes you may have heard of them as referred to as guides, gurus, maybe a confidante or consultant. In the verb form, they advise or train.

So whenever you get into a mentor relationship, it’s a relationship between you and a more experienced or knowledgeable person. Well, there’s a myth that this person has to be older, I would submit today in today’s times with enhanced technologies they may or may not be older, they may actually be younger.

So who is an ideal candidate for mentor? Well, first of all, you’re looking for someone who has been there and done that, and they’ve been successful. It’s someone you’d like to model or be like.

So let’s now take a look at why this is important.

First of all, they can train you on specific knowledge and expertise, and they can show you the ropes.

Again, they’ve been there, done that, so they can circumvent a lot of problems. They can also share lessons learned, tips, and best practices.

They can shorten the learning curve to get you between point A and point B quicker, they can set you up for success, and they can provide a source for a recommendation and other referrals to other people.

So how do you go about finding a career mentor?

Well, first of all, you can study your industry or profession. See, again, who has been there, done that of what you’re trying to do.

Follow people of interest, you know notice who you find interesting, maybe they’ve done something similar in a different industry, maybe not necessarily the one you’re in.

You can also research online, I think LinkedIn is a great resource where you can research companies. Again, books that you read or things that you see that programs are of interest.

You can also ask for referrals, people you know or reach out to other people in the industry and see who maybe their mentor is.

Then, also you can reach out to that person once you find them, be brave and courageous and reach out and ask them if they would mind being a mentor.

Here’s a bonus, sometimes the mentor will seek you out, not always but they can.

And then, a tip is once you get into a mentor relationship commit to that relationship because if they’re offering to do it, commit, show up on time, do the things that you’re supposed to do. Be responsible in that relationship and be respectful, be respectful of them and their time.

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