Why You Should Find a Mentor!

So what is a mentor? And why are they important? A mentor can provide guidance, support, and knowledge to help you grow and excel in your studies or career. Whether it’s navigating issues that come up as you earn your degree or prepping to start a new job after graduation, a mentor can be an invaluable resource! Finding the right person to answer your questions and provide encouragement can help make the entire process easier—and more enjoyable! But if you don’t have your own mentor yet, that’s ok. To help get you started, we’ll take a look at important qualities of a mentor, the benefits for mentors and mentees, and how to go about finding a mentor of your own.

What does a mentor do?

Mentors often wear many hats. That could mean they act as a coach, a counselor, an advisor, a role model—or all of the above! Whether your mentor is helping you academically or professionally, here are some of the things they may do:

  • Provide career guidance and advice
  • Offer motivation and support
  • Share their knowledge and experience
  • Help you set and achieve goals
  • Help you build your networking skills
  • Provide resume and interview tips
  • Help you develop time management/study skills
  • Advise you on financing your education
  • Aid with grad school applications or transferring schools

What are qualities of a good mentor?

When it comes to qualities of a good mentor, you’re really looking for someone who is knowledgeable, supportive, and inspirational. That’s not too much to ask right? A good place to start is by reaching out to a person you respect and trust. And it helps if he or she is someone who is established, accomplished, and well-connected in their field! Other qualities to look for are being a good communicator, a problem-solver, patient, and empathetic. You might also want to find a mentor who has the skills that you’re currently lacking so they can help you with your development.

Pro Tip: Make a list of areas you’d like to grow or improve on and seek out a mentor—or mentors!—who can help you get there.Click to Tweet!

"A good mentor is someone who is knowledgeable in and actively committed to representing his or her profession in the best manner possible. A good mentor is approachable, and has a genuine concern for the mentee’s own success. A good mentor wants to help and will leave no stone unturned in the process.

"Click to Tweet! Kirk Hazlett - Associate College Professor
- Kirk Hazlett, Associate Professor at Curry College and co-chair of the Public Relations Society of America’s College of Fellows Mentoring Committee

Where can students find a mentor?

The good news is there are many places students can look to for a mentor. A good place to start is with professors or instructors you admire. That’s because you already have a relationship with them—and an idea of how well you work together. You can also see if your college or university offers any sort of formal program that matches students with the right mentor. If not, don’t worry!

Former or present bosses or co-workers from jobs or internships are another option. You can also join relevant professional organizations, as they may provide networking opportunities that could connect you with a mentor. To that end, let your friends, family, and other contacts know that you’re on the hunt, in case they know someone who could be a good fit. And don’t underestimate the power of LinkedIn!

What are the benefits for mentor and mentee?

Did you know that the mentor-mentee relationship can be beneficial to both parties? Who knows, it may even develop into a friendship—although that’s not the end goal. When it comes to the mentee, we’ve already mentioned some of the many ways that mentors provide advice and support but some other benefits you may experience include:

  • Gaining greater confidence
  • Being challenged to set higher goals
  • Being more open to taking risks
  • Getting access to resources in your major or field
  • Gaining an insider perspective
  • Being introduced to a valuable personal and/or professional network

The real question is, what’s in it for the mentor? Well, for one thing, mentors have the opportunity to use their skills, knowledge, and experience to help their mentees thrive. Mentoring can also provide the great sense of accomplishment that comes from helping the next generation to succeed. Some other potentials benefits of serving as a mentor may include:

  • Contributing to your own personal and professional growth
  • Building your career network
  • Providing motivation to stay current in your field
  • Enhancing your leadership, management, and coaching skills
  • Building your credibility and reputation as a role model
  • Refreshing your knowledge and skills

"A key benefit for the mentor is the opportunity to give back to the profession that has been his or her life’s career. Another benefit is the opportunity to remain actively engaged in the profession, regardless of years in the field, etc. For the mentee, the major benefit is the opportunity to learn from someone who is already established in the profession that he or she hopes to make a lifelong career. In addition, the mentor-mentee relationship is a solid start in professional networking…through the mentor, the mentee will be introduced to many other professionals.

"Click to Tweet! Kirk Hazlett - Associate College Professor
- Kirk Hazlett, Associate Professor at Curry College and co-chair of the Public Relations Society of America’s College of Fellows Mentoring Committee

So are you now convinced that finding a mentor may be a good move for you? We hope so. Now it’s time to outline exactly what you’re looking for from a mentor, start doing some networking and research, and then reach out and try to make a connection. Looking for schools or degree programs to enhance your credentials in your field? Click here to see some sponsored schools to get started.

forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/05/17/how-to-become-a-great-mentor/#6dd80a34449e mentorcity.com/en/what-does-a-mentor-do studentmentor.org/how-it-works/mentee-and-mentor-benefits/ lyndatait.com/blog/2014/2/6/the-3-essential-qualities-of-an-awesome-academic-mentor college.usatoday.com/2012/02/27/a-college-students-guide-to-finding-a-mentor/

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