Why You Need a Mentor
Many successful people in a variety of professions (healthcare, law, education, business, social services, research) attribute their success and career satisfaction to the expert advice, coaching, encouragement, and strategic recommendations made to them by senior-level colleagues and role models they met early in their careers (or while still in college). Mentors can be frank about the good decisions they have made regarding their educations and careers as well as the mistakes they have made (or have seen others make).
Establishing a mentoring relationship while still in college has many benefits including:
- Gaining an insider's perspective on navigating a career path or profession
- Receiving individual encouragement and recognition along with challenges, such as Yoda's famous: "Try not. Do or do not. There is no try."
- Having a role for leadership, specialized competencies and interpersonal skills
- Support during key stages of your academic and career development, particularly when you encounter setbacks or have a decision to make
Interested in knowing more about how mentoring has helped to positively shape the lives and careers of UMBC students? Click here
How to Find That Special Mentor
Karen Burns, author of: The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use, and blogger at www.karenburnsworkinggirl.com offers some specific recommendations on finding a mentor:
- Don't overlook older family members, friends, neighbors, spiritual leaders, community leaders and the networks of your friends, classmates or current co-workers.
- When approaching someone to be your mentor, be sure to explain why you are asking them and what you expect from the relationship.
- Because mentors are role models, look for someone who has the kind of career (and lifestyle) you would like to have. Moreover, choose a mentor you truly respect. Avoid just approaching the "biggest or most famous" name you can find.
- Always show gratitude. Be sure to provide feedback. If your mentor suggested something that really worked out well for you, report back. People love hearing about their part in a success story.
- If you ask someone to be your mentor and that person is unable to serve, don't feel hurt or offended. Potential good mentors are often very busy people. Be sure to thank him or her for their consideration and ask for a referral.
Specific resources on campus to help you in your search for a mentor include:
We highly recommend that you actively seek a mentor as a junior so that you can obtain insights and benefits that you can take advantage of during your senior year.
In the words of Bob Proctor, author, speaker and success coach:
"A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you."
EXTRA CREDIT DISCUSSION QUESTION
If you could be mentored by anyone in the world, who would it be?