by Karen Grishaber
If you’re happy with your current job, read no further. But if you’re not, or you want to advance to another position, using a mentor can boost your career.
A mentor provides:
- Encouragement and support
- Contacts, and potential opportunities
- Recommendations for professional development
- Sounding board
- Guidance for a performance review
- Advice for seeking a promotion
- Great input to help define and build your brand
Why is your brand important?
If you don’t define your brand, others will find a pigeon hole to put you in. Your personal brand defines your core expertise and the value you provide. But you may not find it easy to define or communicate it.
A mentor, however, can be a great resource to help you explore what defines your brand: your core strengths, unique style, what sets you apart from others who do the same thing, and why people benefit from working with you.
What to look for in a mentor?
The ideal mentor is someone you respect, and who is respected by others. He or she will be more in line with your values, and be in a better position to open doors. Someone who has navigated a similar career path to a more advanced role can also share the path they took to get there. The mentor who is in your career field and understands your job will have a far better sense of your challenges and opportunities, and can therefore offer more specific advice.
Remember when choosing the mentor you admire, not everyone is accessible. Don’t set yourself up for defeat by choosing someone who does not have any time for you.
If you’re interested in growing within your current company, seek out a mentor there. If you’re not planning to stay there for the long haul, it might be better to find someone outside your organization who may offer networking contacts within other companies.
Make it Happen
Start today by asking coworkers for potential candidates. Make it a goal by the end of the next full week to have identified at least three candidates. Then give yourself another week or two to evaluate each by talking to coworkers to get a better sense of who they are, and whether they will have time for you. Narrow down your top one or two choices. Then, simply set up your first meeting.
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Karen Grishaber is a personal branding and job search coach who helps individuals identify and express their unique gifts to promote and differentiate their personal brand to stand out from the crowd when seeking new job opportunities. Karen worked for trade groups and professional societies before focusing on corporate branding at Fortune 500 companies Rockwell, GE and Abbott. Learn more at website or connect with her on LinkedIn.