Finding a Mentor: Why, Where, When, and How

Look at the clock! It’s time to find a mentor.

WHY?

Whether you haven’t had an internship or you’ve had five (also applicable to full-time jobs), you can benefit from mentorship. Anyone can, because nobody knows everything about their specialty or field of study, partially because that would require a limitless amount of experience and knowledge and partially because information and common practices are constantly changing! The absolute best way to learn more about anything is through first-hand experience and knowledge of a mentor. If that isn’t enough of a reason to find a mentor, there is also the fact that this enriching relationship can have other advantageous benefits, such as being able to look up to a role-model or first-hand access to people and jobs in certain industries. You can also have as many mentors as you want, either for the same reason or different ones!

WHERE?

Mentors can be found anywhere, and contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t necessarily have to be somebody older than you! If you’re interested in stocks, mentors can be peers that have invested time in figuring out the ins and outs of the stock market or professors that have worked in investment for years before teaching at Bentley. If looking for general work experience or even help with life itself, a mentor can be somebody that you met in passing. You can find mentors at networking events or clubs that you join. As long as they know the field you’re looking for (they don’t even need to have more knowledge than you, just different knowledge) and are willing to support you while you learn from them, they can be your next mentor. 

WHEN?

The step to actively seek a mentor can happen whenever you are ready and willing to put effort into a valuable relationship. Because the mentor will likely be putting time and effort into helping you, you will have to make time for them and make sure to absorb information as best you can. This means scheduling times and figuring out ways to discuss topics with your mentor, making sure you don’t overbook yourself or cancel on your mentor last-minute, and giving your full attention when you both do find time to meet. The mentor is doing you a favor by sharing their expertise, so you should pick up the leg-work on the logistics of the meetings. After understanding mentee etiquette and feeling as if you need more first-hand information from somebody that you know, you can get a mentor!

HOW?

The conversation to get somebody to mentor you does not have to be awkward or include the word “mentor” in it. You can casually ask the person who came to your mind to get coffee or lunch, while simultaneously mentioning your desire to learn more about their subject of expertise. In current times, as you may not know a person’s comfort level with meeting up in person, a virtual coffee break or lunch may work better. Do not make it sound like you just want to hang out, as that may not be appropriate. Always have a purpose for the meetings. You can also tell the person that you would like to learn more about a topic and that you think they can help you. They will more than likely be excited to help you, so don’t let them down!

Do not underestimate the power of mentorship when it comes to professional development! It is one of the best tools if used properly. Mentorships can often turn into long-lasting relationships where both people catch up periodically for years to come, so don’t miss out.

By Alina Minkova
Alina Minkova Creative Blog Curator Alina Minkova