Getting your foot in the door for the career you want can be a little nerve-wracking. That’s why it would likely benefit you to have a career mentor in your life to help shape you as a professional and teach you the insider tricks of your industry. If you’re looking for someone to teach you how to climb the ladder but don’t know how to go about it, read on.
Ask yourself about your career and life goals.
Where do you see yourself in five years? You might want to figure that out before you reach out and potentially ask for another person’s guidance. Before you establish who you want to build this relationship, you need to ask yourself why you’re choosing said person. What is it that you want out of your career? What are your interests? Why is this the person that can help you? It may take a while but, once you form a clear idea of what you want, you’ll have a better shot at getting involved with whoever you admire professionally on a personal level.
Identify your target and pick a fitting career mentor.
So now that you’ve figured out what you want and why, it’s time to establish who. Is there a specific person in your life that you look up to? A good way to start is to think of people in the organizations that you’re involved with on campus or the professors in your department. And, if you’re in the middle of an internship, you can even reach out to your supervisor or someone else in the office whose work you admire.
Do your research on potential mentors, employers and companies.
Make sure you make the effort to find out more about what the person you’re reaching out to does. And, if their job title is a title you hope to have someday, turn to your handy friend Google and try finding more information on what it’s like to be in that position, what people who hold that title normally do, how competitive it is, etc.
Start the professional conversation and reach out through social media.
To start, try connecting with your prospective mentor on LinkedIn. Make sure that, when you send them an invitation, you personalize the message that’s sent along with it, stating who you are and why you’d like to be connected with this person. You could also follow them on more informal social platforms. If they’re active on Instagram or Twitter, chances are they don’t hide too much about what they do for a living. Ease your way into things by making sure they know you’re interested in who they are and what they do, i.e. replying to a funny tweet or commenting on some of their posts.
Make your move to talk professionally outside of the office.
Once you feel comfortable, try reaching out to them to set up a coffee or lunch date during which you can talk about your career goals and ask for their mentorship. Before asking, just make sure that you both feel comfortable around each other and that what you want aligns with what they can teach you.