Continuing our Job Search Checklist from A to Z blog series, M represents an important person you should have with you on your career journey: Mentor.

If you don’t have a mentor, you could be missing out. For many, the idea of having a mentor may seem odd, but when you think about it: Who couldn’t benefit from talking and working with someone who has a proven track record of success? When I’ve talked to people who have mentors and learned how they have assisted in their personal and professional development, I now think it is silly not to have a mentor.

Mentoring defined

Mentoring isn’t a new idea. Basically, it’s the process where an experienced person supports and develops another individual by sharing experiences and lessons learned. A good mentor listens, gives feedback, provides inspiration, uses personal experiences as examples and helps the mentee avoid making mistakes.

Reasons to work with a mentor

Mentors can help you and your career in a variety of ways. As you start working with your mentor you both can figure out how the partnership will progress and what each of you hope to get out of it. This could include things like:

  • Making a career plan to follow
  • Setting short- and long-term goals
  • Helping you make career choices
  • Identifying practical resources
  • Providing real world advice and examples
  • Tracking your progress and holding you accountable – you don’t want to let your mentor down!

Choosing a mentor

Your goal is to find someone you respect and is respected in their profession. You can find this person in a variety of ways such as: networking (events, online, offline), co-workers – past and present, friends and family (you never know who they know), professional associations and more. Keep your eyes open at all times for potential mentors; you never know who you will meet in the grocery store, on a plane, etc. You want to find someone you are comfortable meeting with and learning from who is committed to your success and development.

Sometimes we all could use a little help. A career mentor could be just the person you need. What do you think about having a mentor? Have you worked with a mentor? How did it go? Let us know in the comments!

This Career Coach blog post is part of the series: Your Job Search Checklist from A to Z. If you are interested in checking out the webinar on the same topic, click here. Otherwise, keep watching the Career Coach blog for 26 job search alphabet posts.

Jill Kempka

About Jill Kempka

Jill loves to share information about ways to keep up with the changing world of work. She focuses on quick tips, facts and helpful lists to give job seekers tactics and advice they can immediately use.