Written By: Samantha Rosenfeld
“The key to being a good mentor is to help people become more of who they already are – not to make them more like you.” – Suze Orman
You’ve finally done it: you’ve graduated from college and are ready to enter the workforce full-time for perhaps the first time in your life. You spend the night before your first day Googling what to wear, what to say and what to do, but no amount of internet sleuthing will prepare you for the number of questions and scenarios that will arise a daily basis for the next few years – or possibly forever! You don’t have access to your academic advisor or professors to bounce ideas off or gather life-changing advice. So, what do you do? How do you find that mysterious mentor who will help you navigate this new season of life?
Join a Slack group, LinkedIn group, Facebook group, etc.
The best place to start is online. Join forums for young professionals who have similar questions, connect with Slack groups (like this amazing one from LadiesGetPaid), LinkedIn or Facebook groups. Interact with the individuals you meet and begin a digital-mentor relationship when you feel truly comfortable in the groups you’ve found most helpful.
So you’ve found some online resources, talked within these groups about some of your issues, and now have identified a few individuals you’d like to get to know more. It’s time to slide into their DMs. That’s right, I’m giving you permission to try to schedule one-on-one conversations with the people you’ve found online. Sometimes this develops into something, and sometimes it fizzles out. Either way, you can’t know what will happen until you try!
There’s an amazing online resource called MeetUp, and it connects local groups of people who are interested in similar hobbies or activities. Join and see what is going on locally! Don’t be shy – get out from behind the computer and start networking.
Local Industry Associations
Once you’ve been to a few MeetUps, do some research on the local industry associations you can join to further your networking “net”. Since I am a marketer, I was quick to join my local American Marketing Association chapter and have found invaluable resources from these connections over the past few years!
Another way to meet potential mentors or at least like-minded individuals is to donate some of your time to an organization that has a mission you not only approve of but also want to be a part of. This will connect you with the people you’ve been looking for! Volunteering is also a great way to advance your career. You never know what opportunities could arise from it.
Start a “Book Club”
If you’ve done your research, your networking, and your volunteering, chances are you’ve probably been exposed to a wide variety of people and resources. So why not tie it together? Creating a biweekly or monthly book club (or Cocktail Club!) will bring together many of the experts you’ve come to know and enjoy and will further your relationship with each of them.
Become the Mentor
I once read that in order to find a mentor, you must first be a mentor. I didn’t understand what this meant until I started volunteering my time and expertise to new graduates in their careers. Although I am only a half-a-decade ahead than a lot of them, I have learned so much over the past five years. Not only do you have things to share, but you can always learn from someone else!
Do you have tips about finding the ever-elusive mentor? Comment below with your recommendations!
By Samantha Rosenfeld – Formative Storyteller