Tips For Finding A Mentor

Our friends over at NexGoal wrote an article titled “The Importance of Mentorship for Career Development” and we thought the message would be beneficial for the VIKTRE Career Network audience as a whole.

For the general job-seeking audience, enlisting the guidance of a mentor can greatly effect your career development. For transitioning athletes, finding someone in an industry of interest who can help you along your new career path, or even an athlete who made the transition before you, can make this daunting experience a little easier to handle.

While having a mentor can be a great resource, finding the right mentor can be a challenge. How does one decide to be your mentor? How do you go about asking someone to impart their career wisdom? Luckily, there are resources to help you find a mentor or network of mentors. Among those are a series of tips from CEO and founder of The Symphony Agency, Lauren Davenport. By using these four tips, you can hopefully find a mentor, increase your network and take the next step in your career!

Don’t Be Afraid To Reach Out

One of the first steps in identifying potential mentors is to think about what career industry you are interested in. Are you in marketing and strive to be a CMO someday? Search for CMO’s on LinkedIn at companies that pique your interest. Retiring from your playing career and want to transition into broadcasting? Use your platform and the network you’ve built to connect with former athletes or even non-athletes who have transitioned into the industry.

Once you identify a few people, the next step is to reach out. If you never ask, you’ll never know if they’d be willing to guide you. The worst thing that someone can say is “no.”

Do Your Homework

Once you’ve reached out and hopefully set up a time to speak or meet in person, prepare for the meeting just like you would a game or interview. Do a Google search. Educate yourself on the individual’s background and career progression via LinkedIn. Prepare questions for them about their career or for any guidance. Taking an interest in their career and what they have to say is a way to show that you are passionate about your own.

Join A Networking Organization

If you’re unsure of who you could reach out to about potentially becoming a mentor, there is another option – networking groups. With a few minutes searching the Internet, you can find a ton of organizations in your local area. These groups can range from industry-specific, generalized to an age range, background, etc. Through networking, not only will you develop industry relationships, but also have the opportunity to meet potential mentors face to face. As always, send a follow up note and ask for another meeting.

Pay Attention To The Mentor’s Advice

The point of a mentor is to seek advice from someone who have been through the job search and have achieved success in their career so you have the knowledge on how to be successful in your own right. If you don’t pay attention to what he or she is saying, then what is the point of having a mentor in the first place? You do not necessarily need to follow through on every suggestion made, but you can take their advice and apply it to certain components of your career and life.

Mentors can have a huge influence as you begin your career, but also benefit you as you continue progressing. While they are typically considered as being established industry professionals, mentors can come in all stages of a career. If you aren’t continuously learning, your career can become stagnant. What better way to continue learning than from people in similar career levels? By talking to your peers and finding out if they are going through similar struggles or have had success doing something a certain way, you can learn from that situation as well.

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