The term mentor is a bit confusing and intimidating. You’re asking someone to take precious time from their day and help you. It’s a bigger commitment than you’d think. However, the relationship can really be anything you want it to be, as long as both parties are putting in effort.
First steps? Approach someone whom you admire or respect. Ask to take them to coffee, and just like any other relationship, you’ll click or you won’t. This relationship should (and will) grow organically, as long as you, the mentee, puts in the effort to ask for help and continue to work toward your goals. Keep in mind some people are just not open to advising other people for whatever reason. If they won’t answer your e-mails or keep postponing your meetings, find someone else. There are plenty of people with great advice to give.
Next, keep in touch with them. Even if you are happy in your current position, nothing is worse than approaching someone you haven’t spoken to in years just because you need something (RUDE). Updating your mentor on your life may lead to great advice in other areas and you never know where the similarities may lie. Find the communication that works for both of you – this can be e-mail, text or even Gchat. Remember to be gracious of their time; you need them more than they need you.
Last: be open to suggestions. Let yourself be helped! There is so much knowledge to gain from successful people, whether it’s how they got to where they are or why they prefer to exercise in the morning, so just listen and learn.
Not sure of what to talk about during your first meeting with a mentor? Here are some topics to bring up:
- Acclimating to a new city
- Get an inside look at their position and company
- Help you through getting a promotion
- Assist with job seeking/resume reviewing
- Help you contact someone at a company you want more information about
- Involvement with professional organizations
Time for you to try it out! Go make a list of all the professionals that you look up to and have a good relationship with. Make sure you go into the meeting with a couple of areas you want to talk about, and let the mentoring commence!
Bottom’s Up to getting mentored (soak up that knowledge, kids!),
(P.S. Your newly-developed mentor will usually treat YOU at your first meet up because they’re more senior than you are. You will get there some day!)