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A vital factor to success in your career is to have a mentor. 82% of women agree that having a mentor is important. A mentor/mentee arrangement is a mutually beneficial relationship. A mentor provides you with the guidance, knowledge, access, and support. You can offer a fresh perspective and ideas.
With such an important aspect to career success, why is it that 19% (that’s nearly 1 out of every 5 women) have NEVER had a mentor! Don’t waste another second without one. Here are 13 tips to consider when searching for and nurturing a relationship with a mentor that is perfect for you.
1. Be clear on why you want a mentor.
2. Define your personality and communication style.
3. When asking someone to be your mentor, explain why you’re asking and what you’d expect out of the relationship.
4. Look for someone who has the kind of life and work you’d like to have.
5. Before asking someone to be your mentor, consider first simply asking for input on a single specific topic.
6. Look for ways you can reciprocate the help your mentor offers.
7. Show gratitude.
8. When looking for a mentor, think beyond former bosses and professors. Look to older family members or friends, neighbors, spiritual leaders, community leaders, the networks of your friends and colleagues, or officials of professional or trade associations you belong to.
9. Keep in mind that mentoring can take many forms. It can be a monthly lunch, a quarterly phone call, a weekly handball game, or merely a steady E-mail correspondence.
10. Many mentors derive pleasure from “molding” someone in their own images—great for them and great for you if you want to be molded.
11. Don’t become too dependent on your mentor. The idea is that one day you will eventually be able to fly on your own.
12. Guess what: You’re allowed to have more than one mentor.
13. Finally, if you ask someone to be your mentor and that person refuses, don’t be hurt or offended. This is not personal! Potential good mentors are very busy people.
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Here are some places I suggest you can start your search:
1) Your University
Starting a relationship with anyone is always better when you have something in common to start. Check in with your school’s Career Development Services department and look up alumni in your industry. Get their contact information and reach out to them.
2) Industry Associations
There are many amazing national and local industry associations dedicated to advancing Latinos in their field. Joining one of these gives you access to mentors, conferences, and networking opportunities. Here is a list of associations and organizations compiled by Dartmouth to get you started: http://journals.dartmouth.edu/latinox/resource_center/academics4.shtml.
3) Social Media
Social Media Like is how the world stays connected now. If you are not in a Facebook group or LinkedIn Community, you are missing out! Great resources, jobs, internships, advice, and connections are being shared and made in these groups.
We here at Educated Latina are starting our own private Facebook group in March. If you are interested, sign up for more details here
Do you have a mentor? How have they helped you succeed? If not, what are the challenges you face in finding one? Share with us in the comments below!