Mentors: the more the merrier
Careers! If you are reading this blog post the chances are there is something about your career you want to change. Time and time again you’ll hear about the importance of mentors in people’s careers, but who are they and how do you find one?
I have great news: at UTS you have free access to hundreds of mentors who are ready and willing to help you. A silver lining of the pandemic is that people are more enthusiastic to connect and help than ever before.
Here are 5 tips to help you leverage mentoring.
1) Re-frame mentoring
Mentoring is no longer an exclusive opportunity available to a fortunate few, nor does it have to be a long term relationship with someone more senior than you. Consider what you want to achieve, and think about who is two steps ahead of you. What can you learn from them? When you reframe mentoring it seems less intimidating, simply a conversation with someone who is willing to help you out. You could start with a peer, maybe someone in your class who secured an internship, who you could ask what steps they took. Start small, build confidence and connect!
Identify what you want to gain from a mentoring relationship. Here are some ways mentors may help mentees:
- Sharing knowledge about a particular industry, jobs, organisation or country/location in which a mentor has experienced
- Sharing experiences of overcoming a hurdle you are navigating, this could be general recruitment scenario of something specific to you.
- Providing feedback and debriefing for recruitment processes and/or work situations.
- Sounding board for ideas.
- Connecting you with others.
3) Be curious
Curiosity is a learned skill. The secret to developing great relationships is being curious and genuinely interested in the other person. Before you talk with a mentor consider how you can make the most of the opportunity, and prepare a few questions. One of our Career Consultants Steph Miller has created a helpful list to get you started.
4) Radical collaboration
Diversity of thought is an excellent recipe for a strong mentoring relationship. You will reap the biggest rewards establishing relationships with mentors who provide a different perspective. Also, why have one mentor when you can have multiple? Collect mentors who all have expertise in different areas.
5) Bias to action
Ultimately a mentoring relationship will only be successful if you take action. A good mentor will keep you accountable to the things you commit to do; don’t waste their time by not following through with what you said you’d do. If, after meetings, you don’t take action it’s unrealistic to expect a mentor to continue to give up their time to help you.
- Be vulnerable, if you aren’t open and honest with your mentor there will be a limit to how much they can help you. With that being said, keep it professional and appreciate they are helping you for free (and it’s not free therapy!)
- Be respectful of your mentor’s time. Ask what they can commit to and their preference for communicating so you both have clear expectations. As they are helping you, take the lead on the organisation side of things and turn up prepared.
- Remember mentoring is a two way relationship – the chances are you have a lot to share and can help your mentor too. Ask them what they hope to gain from the experience.
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash
By Julieanne Cutrupi
UTS Careers Manager