Whether you are a student in class, an intern, or a new hire at a company, there are many ways in which mentors can help you achieve personal goals and succeed in your position. A mentor is someone who has knowledge and skills gained through experience that can help you through the many obstacles and opportunities you will face as you begin your new career. As a mentee, it is important to understand the benefits of a mentor and what you can do to build a strong relationship together.
- Answering Questions: First and foremost, mentors can provide answers for many questions about the work or classroom environment. Mentors have experience within the position and most likely have an in-depth knowledge about how the office works. Are you unsure about office policies or culture? Do you have questions about how to use certain technology or computer programs? Are you dealing with a potential conflict with a co-worker and need some guidance? They can give you tips and resources to help you use your time more efficiently and gain a richer experience.
- Constructive Feedback: Mentors can also offer constructive feedback on how you are performing in your position. They offer enthusiastic pats on the back for a job well done, and can provide positive constructive criticism if there is an area you can improve on. Many mentors help students, interns, and employees create goals and offer supportive guidance to achieve them.
- Beyond Your Position: In addition to answering questions and offering constructive feedback, mentors can also help you beyond your current position. They can assist you in planning for prospective goals like graduate school, career changes, and other opportunities in the future. Mentors, in addition to experience, have contacts across the industry that you may be interested in networking with. They can help you make those connections and foster new relationships that will help you advance in your career.
In my own personal experience as an intern, I found that I was often confused by the assignments I was given and I needed to turn to my mentor for advice. She helped me clarify exactly what I was doing, and helped me set goals for the near future and for entire length of my internship. The support and knowledge that my mentor gave me allowed me to feel at ease in my new position and inspired me to get the most out of the opportunity I was given.
Sometimes mentors can be assigned supervisors or they can be an experienced co-worker, but what is important is that you build a trusting, open relationship together based on common goals and workplace values. A mentor can be the most important resource that you have – they can truly help you propel your career and support you as you achieve your goals. While on campus or at your new internship, find a mentor that can help you with all in all of these areas, and remember – a successful person has mentors in all areas of their lives. It is important to network and build reciprocal relationships with many people in order to be successful and have a rewarding career.
-Allison Battista, Career Intern’
Photo Credit: http://www.irvingsjourney.com/2014/09/seeking-older-man-with-powerful-connections/