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How to Choose the Right Career Mentor

Mentors are a great resource for your professional development, but how can you develop such a relationship?

Know what you want. How will having a mentor help you move up in your current area or switch career paths? Look for a mentor who can help you reach your specific goals.

Create a list of well-respected people. Think about people who:

  • Are well-respected in your workplace
  • Would have the time and the energy for you
  • You think would be good teachers

Observe how other colleagues react to the people on your list.

Nix your supervisor. Asking an immediate boss to be a mentor could put both of you in an awkward position when conflicts and challenges arise at your job.

Be considerate of a future mentor. Remember that choosing a mentor is a two-way street, so make it clear to the person what you will expect from them as your mentor.

Be upfront what you want in a mentor. Let the person who you are talking being your mentor know what you are looking from them. 

Define your communication. Your mentor may only be able to communicate by email. Or may prefer to meet in person. Check to see what they are comfortable with and make sure it meets your goals as well.