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When it comes to the world of professionals there are many ways to get ahead in your field of work. However, few of have proven more reliable than the guidance of a mentor. There are different ways to find a mentor- a boss, a professor, a friend of the family- but what if your ideal career mentor is someone you've never met? Granted, it's difficult to get a mentor when you don't have ties to that person, but it's not impossible. So let's take a look at how to approach them.
First, look for shared acquaintances. Being a 'friend of a friend' can go a long way in the business world. Find out if you share any friends or acquaintances with your ideal mentor. If so, why not approach that shared friend to stage a meeting? If not, look for other connections- alma maters, volunteer organizations, etc.
Second, send an email. There are three ways to contact a professional mentor: in person, on the phone, or on the computer. If the first two options feel too personal (or just impossible) go with the third option. Send them a well written email as an introduction to who you are. This is a great way to open the conversation that may just lead to them becoming your mentor.
Above all, you must never give up on your search for a mentor. Even if the initial people you approach turn you down, keep looking! The right mentor will come your way.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|