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Choosing a mentor requires a good deal of thought. It is enticing to pick someone who is where you want to be monetarily; but that is one of the most common mistakes you could make when selecting a good mentor. While achieving a level of status is a consideration – everyone needs something to aspire to – it is not the only consideration. Here are some things you should think about when choosing a career mentor:
Choosing the right career mentor has everything to do with proper pairing. The first thing to think about is selecting someone who is doing what you want to do with your career. Choosing someone who is excelling in a different industry than the one you are in gives you someone to admire, but it doesn’t give you a mentor who can help you along because they have been exactly where you are.
It is also important to pick someone who achieved the level you want to get to. This serves as a reminder that you can achieve your goals if you persevere. Picking someone that you are friends with but who is at the same level as you or below will not give you the impetus you need to push ahead.
The person you choose to be your mentor must be available to you. The goal for working with a mentor is not to have someone open all the doors and clear all the roadblocks for you. It is to have someone who understands your industry and can serve as your sounding board as well as your beacon. If the person you chose is not available because of distance (your mentor should be someone you can see often) or responsibilities, set your sights on someone who is more accessible.
There is so much that you can learn from a mentor and the relationship between the two of you can be a mutually fulfilling one. Be sure to choose someone with whom you can align your goals. In this way you can maximize the knowledge available in their experience and tutelage.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|