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Benefits of Having a Mentor During a Job Search and Beyond

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You’ve revised your resume, mastered your Two-Minute Pitch and gotten a firm grasp on your Fifteen-year Vision. To get the job of your dreams, however, there’s a powerful yet commonly overlooked step that will strengthen your search: mentoring.

When looking for a job, having a mentor is a wonderful extension of  5-Step Method. A good mentor will provide valuable guidance when discussing your career ideas, goals and plans both in the short and long terms. You’ll better understand your strengths and weaknesses, and be able to expand your network to give you an edge in the job market.

Perhaps you already know someone who’d be a good mentor. If you don’t, explore your network, contact professional organizations and reach out to your alma mater. To ensure you’re getting the most out of the relationship, consider these tips and questions prior to initiating a formal relationship.

Factors of a fantastic fit
Within the scope of your job search, who would be a good fit as your mentor? Important considerations include industry, experience and companies this person has worked for. Remember, age is just a number. For example, senior executives may desire a younger mentor to get insight into specific industry technologies they don’t understand. It’s all about the mentor’s experience and ability to share desired knowledge and guidance with the mentee.

Lay it on the line
Determine your goals and what you hope to achieve by starting a mentor relationship. Be sure to clearly communicate these to your prospective mentor so everyone is on the same page. Then, ask your mentor to communicate the goals and expectations they have for you. A successful mentoring relationship goes both ways.

Ask questions up-front
Encourage a dialogue at the beginning of the relationship. Ask questions about experience, interests and motivations. Has this person mentored before? If so, how did that go? Remember to answer all of the questions the mentor has for you, too. If it doesn’t seem like a good fit for either person, it’s best to stop it at this point than be disappointed months down the road.

Agree on a time commitment
Are you meeting once a week for coffee? Having lunch monthly? Will your relationship be entirely online or will it involve frequent phone calls? Agree on formal and informal elements of the mentoring partnership so that no one is surprised when someone is contacting the other too little or too much.

Embrace gratitude
Good mentors will openly give time, insight and guidance. Be genuinely grateful and express it often. From simple thank-you emails to picking up the tab for coffee here and there, showing appreciation is a must.

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