Importance of a Mentor to Grow Your Career

published on 31 March 2022

The job search process is often tedious and complicated. 😰 Through the entire job search journey, you will experience different phases - from feeling demotivated for not landing interview calls ☹️ to feeling like you can make it to your dream FAANG company (trust us, if you want to, you can! 💯). Not to mention several questions you may have during the process like 'how do I list this work experience on my resume,' or 'how do I reach out to someone for a query on LinkedIn,' or even 'how to I respond to my recruiter over email about something,' there's so much to the job search process than what meets the eye. 🤔

Imagine you had someone who works professionally in the industry, who could guide you, help you and answer questions about your career or job search for you. Wouldn't that be amazing? That is all that finding a 'MENTOR' is about. 🤩 

A mentor can play a key role in helping you grow in your career.
A mentor can play a key role in helping you grow in your career.

Who Is A Mentor? 🤝

A good mentor is someone who works in the field of your interest and has years of experience to provide you with valuable insights on how to navigate a particular situation. Mentorship can prove immensely helpful, not just so your career mentor can answer your questions and guide you all the time, but also, so you have someone to encourage you to reach your fullest potential and excel in what you do. 

Types of Mentors 👨‍💻

Depending on the different stages of your job search or career, different types of mentors may be able to help you. It is important to know who in your network can serve as which one, to connect with the right person when you need guidance. Here are a few types of mentors to look out for.

  • Traditional Mentor

A traditional mentor is generally someone more experienced or senior to you. The mentor-mentee relationship in traditional mentorship is more focused on enriching the candidate’s professional journey through the knowledge and experience that the mentor has.

  • Peer Mentor

Peer mentors are coworkers and colleagues who work at the same level as you in your organization. Since both the mentor and mentee in this kind of mentorship share similar experiences, situations, or difficulties, they can discuss their different styles of dealing with a crisis. Most companies assign peer mentors, especially for new hires, so they have someone to help them navigate their way through the work.

  • Aspirational Mentor

Aspirational mentors could be professionals from your organization, any other organization, or even people who do not work in the same field as you. These are generally mentors you look up to as an inspiration for what they have achieved through their skills, talent, expertise, and hard work. Aspirational mentors can be really helpful in foreseeing the kind of individual you would like to be and the work you would like to do.

  • Practical Mentor

A practical mentor is someone you would go to when you need advice on real-world problems. Such mentors generally help by providing guidance that can immediately be applied in a situation to deal with it in the best possible manner.

  • Coping Mentor

Coping mentors often act as a sounding board for their candidates. They are the mentors you would want to go to while dealing with stressful situations. Having a mentor who would hear you out in vulnerable times and offer you advice on dealing with the situation can be relieving. 

You must be wondering which of the above kinds of mentors would be the best fit for you. Your answer is - that there is no correct answer. You can have multiple mentors guiding you in different aspects of your life. Each mentor is important for a candidate in their own way and can change how you approach the next steps of your career.

Importance Of Having A Mentor 🎯

Here are four reasons why mentorship is important for job seekers and professionals to grow their careers:

  • You receive guidance from someone who has been there, done that.

During the job search process, you might have many queries, or may require mock job interviews to land an offer. Or, if you already work in a company, you will come across several situations where you might need to make decisions, you may face workplace conflicts, may need to plan for the next step of your career, etc. In such cases, your career mentor, who has years of experience working in the industry, can provide you with objective guidance about how to deal with different situations or what your next step should be. 

Platforms like LinkedIn have made it easier to identify professionals who could be your potential mentors.
Platforms like LinkedIn have made it easier to identify professionals who could be your potential mentors.
  • A good mentor can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses.

When you know your weaknesses and shortcomings, working on them to ensure they do not hamper your career progress can become easier. At the same time, being aware of your strengths can help you determine what makes you stand out from other candidates in the job search process or at work. The best mentor can help you identify both of these from a professional's perspective and help you work on them to ensure you're the best version of yourself during your job search or at work. 

  • A mentor can help you out with difficult decisions.

A good mentor can guide you in solving difficult decisions. At work, you will often be faced with making tough decisions that you may not always be able to discuss with your managers or superiors. Mentors can direct you to make correct decisions with their knowledge and wisdom. Taking advice from someone who does not have a stake in the situation will enable you access to quality opinions.

  • You will meet new people.

Most job seekers network via platforms like LinkedIn to build new connections. It is fascinating how such media can help you connect with people you otherwise might not have access to. Similarly, mentors have their professional network too. They can help you boost your opportunities drastically. 

Not just that, but besides learning from your mentor, you also get ample opportunities of learning from people they know. In situations where your mentor might not be able to help you, they may connect you with someone in their network who can. This way, you can build a network that not only provides you new opportunities, but can also provide you the correct advice.

  • Mentors can guide you on how to set boundaries.

Excellent work ethic stems not just from discipline, dedication, integrity, or any other such qualities, but also from the ability to set limits within which you will work. Setting healthy boundaries is an important aspect of any professional’s journey. Having someone to guide you about it can make a huge difference. A mentor can help you understand how to set healthy boundaries that can sharpen your attention and provide you with better clarity on approaching your goals.

But How Do You Find A Mentor?

67% of people believe mentorship is important, but only 37% have a career mentor.

Finding a mentor is not easy. Most professionals already have a lot going on in their professional careers. Hence, simply texting someone, "Will you be my mentor?" might not be the best way. ❌ 

If you have identified someone you think will be able to mentor you, here are a few ways you should approach the process:

  • Have a clear ask. 

Asking someone to mentor you is not the right way to start a relationship with them. Often, it does no good both to the mentor and the mentee. Connect with them to get started with a few questions that you need guidance for. Get to know them better, and see if you find their advice adding value to the help you're seeking. At the same time, during the conversations, try to learn more about them, not just professionally, but also personally - like what do they like to do in their free time, what their interests are, what kind of books do they like to read, what other areas are they passionate about, etc. This will help you identify areas you may have in common.

From a mentor's point of view, it becomes easy for them to know what help you're seeking when you approach them with a straightforward question. Professionals do not always have the kind of time to commit to mentoring someone per se, but may be happy to answer questions for you from time to time. This also allows them to get a better idea of your needs to determine whether they can commit to mentoring you regularly in the time to come.

  • Be willing to put in the effort.

Being mentored by someone is not a one-time solution to any situation. You will need to work upon the things discussed with them and convey to them what progress you've made. Without the effort, mentorship would not be beneficial. 

Being a mentor is not easy. It can also be frustrating for mentors to guide someone who does not put in any effort outside the time they spend together discussing matters. Hence, ensure you're willing to put in the time, energy, and effort required to work on things when you ask someone to mentor you. 

  • Find a common ground.

Finding commonality in mentor-mentee relationships is vital for developing effective mentorship. Mentoring that enables both the mentee and mentor to gain and grow into something can be very empowering. A common ground could be on any basis - likes, dislikes, work experience, life experiences, passion for an activity, etc. When a mentee has something in common with their mentor, they would generally look up to them to determine where their interests led them. At the same time, for a mentor, it would make it easy for them to understand the mentee better. A common ground to cement the relationship can be a game-changer for effective mentorship relations.

  • Express your gratitude and keep in touch.

Your mentor's time is valuable, and their advice holds importance since it is based on the experiences and hard work that they have put in for their career. Express your gratitude from time to time for the time they dedicate to helping you grow your career. This could be by mentioning it verbally in conversations and showing progress in your work and career through actions.

There might also be phases when you might not need regular help and hence may not need to connect with your mentor too often. During such times, keep in touch with them. Keep them updated on what you are doing. This will help retain the relationship for a more extended period and convey to the mentor how you consider them an essential part of your professional journey, not just when they meet you regularly and guide you, but also otherwise. 

Networking is not the only way to find a mentor. A platform like FAANGPath can help you connect with a mentor based on your needs. Whether you need help with a resume review, LinkedIn makeover, mock interviews, or career mentorship, FAANGPath can put you in touch with an industry mentor who shares a similar background to set you up for success. 🚀

And just like that, connecting with someone for a few specific questions from time to time can transform into a mentor-mentee relationship in the long run. 🤝

Not sure what your first message to seek help from a potential mentor should look like?

Here's an example:

Dear ____,

We connected over LinkedIn a couple of months ago, and I admire your posts about your work at XYZ company. I'm currently pursuing my education at XYZ university. I would love to connect with you for guidance on pursuing roles further in the XYZ domain, specifically to learn more about how to prepare for interviews, since I'm looking to apply actively at XYZ. Would it be possible for us to connect over a quick video call anytime in the upcoming weeks? Happy to connect at a time that suits you best. Thank you!

Regards,

Your Name

A short and sweet message like this could be your first step toward finding an industry mentor. What are you waiting for? 🚀

Our mentors at FAANGPath are committed to helping job seekers land their dream job. They can provide you with in-depth guidance through our mentorship services to accelerate your job search process and help you take next to landing your dream FAANG job. Book a mentorship session or connect with us now!

Find us on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Clubhouse, or at www.faangpath.com

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Here is a short infographic you can save and share about the importance of a mentor.
Here is a short infographic you can save and share about the importance of a mentor.

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