You should be so proud of yourself for taking time today to invest in your future goals! You are here because you are looking to increase your network and find mentors in your respective career field. I’m here to provide you with five proven ways to secure a mentor in ANY field of study and career.
Merriam Webster states the definition of mentorship as the influence, guidance, or direction given by a mentor. The definition of mentorship according to Dictionary.com is the position or services of a wise and trusted counselor or senior sponsor, often in a particular field. According to Wikipedia, the definition of mentorship described as a relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person.Mentorship is so important because it opens doors, elevates us to different levels and can also give us that boost of confidence that we so often need.
When I decided to switch careers to go into medicine, I did not have any mentors. I had to figure it out on my own. Thankfully, with patience, prayer and the help of Google, I navigated my way into medical school. I now have a growing list of mentors that help me along in my current journey. I will be discussing five resources that I’ve used to find mentors that helped me build a great network. After reading this, you will be confident enough to successfully secure a mentor for your dream career.
The most important advice for securing a mentor is simply asking. You may know at least one person in your field of interest and you probably never asked them to be your mentor. You probably never asked them for advice due to the fear of being let down. What’s the worst case of asking them to be a mentor or lend advice?
They could say no.
But, they could also say yes.
Or you could ask somebody else, right?
Please get out of your comfort zone. If you know someone that is in your chosen career field or degree program, PLEASE ask them. If you’re afraid to call them, you can send an email or instant message instead. Remember, there are many people who don’t have contacts with anyone in their field. If there’s someone that you know or even within several degrees of separation, simply ask them.
2. Social Media
The Average person spends about 135 minutes every day on social media and that number is probably double to triple times for us millennials. A lot of the time spent on ‘The Shade Room’ or watching ‘Tasty’ Facebook videos could be spent building your career network. The best sites to use are Facebook, Instagram, Linked In and Twitter. You can simply go in the search bar and you will be on your way to powerful connections. For example purposes, you can use #psychologist and you will find dozens of mental health professionals. You can use various career keywords such as a nurse, physical therapist, marketing agent, attorney, and the list goes on. You can search people, groups or location using keywords in your designated field. This will lead you to the pages of people in your field and all you must now do is follow them and send a direct message.
3. Local Colleges/Universities
You don’t have to physically or officially attend any of these universities to reap the benefits of mentorship. We are going to use the University of Maryland as an example. I simply googled “University of Maryland Nursing Faculty” in Google. The link took me to the directory that shows all faculty and staff listings. You can sort alphabetically and by the departments. This leads to a list of professors with their respective photos, full names and their email addresses. Their contact number may be there but I do not recommend calling them. An email is much better and less intrusive. If you feel comfortable calling them, you can do so, but I personally advise against it.
4. Word of Mouth
This goes along with putting your money where your mouth is. For example, if you have a passion for journalism, you should ask your group of friends and family if they know any journalists or journalism majors. Ask them if it is okay for you to contact them via phone, email or an in-person meeting.
5. Local and National Professional Organizations
Every profession has a state and national based association network. This is a prime source for networking, using the directory to locate a mentor in your home state. I’m going to use the Connecticut State Dental Association for my example. When you Google “Connecticut State Dental Association”, click on their website, and then click contact. You will be shown the staff directory. There’s also a link that says, “For the Public”. You can click this link for a nationwide directory of dentists while selecting for ZIPCode and specialty. This generates a list of dentists’ names, practice name, and numbers and email addresses.
Now that I’ve given you the tools to secure a mentor, you must make a general template email that will be sent to prospective mentors.
I have provided the full general mentor seeking template on this post here. I hope that you will start implementing this guide today. Your dream career or degree awaits!
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