How to Find a Career Mentor

How to Find a Mentor for Your Career

Finding the right mentor can be a key factor to to reaching your goals and excelling in your career. Whether you’re just starting out in a field or are looking for a way to advance within your current one, they can offer support and guidance as you move forward. From figuring out who would be right for you, to where you should look to find them, we have some helpful tips on how to find a mentor for your career.

Rethink what a typical mentor looks like

Oftentimes, when we think of “mentorship,” we have a rather narrow image in mind — someone who’s much older and more established in the field, who may have even assigned as our mentor in an official capacity. But that’s not necessarily always the case. You might accidentally stumble upon a mentor while chatting with someone at the dog park. They might only have a few years more experience than you, but those few years can still count (especially since it wouldn’t have been too long ago that they were in your shoes). You could even have multiple mentors, with one person able to help you with operating internal company systems, another able to help you hone your communication skills, still another with using tech platforms, and so on. Mentorship isn’t one-size-fits-all, so avoid limiting yourself to only a single definition.

Analyze your goals and values to find people who are aligned

What may make for a great mentor for one person might not be for another. If you have a specific career trajectory you’d like to pursue, try to find someone in a position you’d ultimately like to emulate, so they can help you along that path. If there are certain aspects of the job you value most highly, seek out people who are aligned and can help you flourish in that capacity. By knowing what you want out of your career, you’ll be better equipped to find people who can help you get there.

Utilize alumni networks

Whether your school has official alumni organizations, there’s an informal “class of 2024” group on social media, or you’ve just kept the contact information of people you met in your program, your school is a great place to find potential mentors. If any industry professionals gave talks to your class, send an email thanking them for their insights and ask about meeting up for an informational interview. Or reach out to previous graduates who’ve been in the field a bit longer — this way, they’ll have insight not only into the tech field, but also in how to navigate it as an alum of your program.

Reach out to former or current colleagues

If you enrolled in a course to switch fields from a previous one, that old job might still be a good resource for finding mentors. Maybe in your previous role you were a salesperson, but you had a good working relationship with a data scientist there, and they’d be willing to give you some advice as you enter the data field yourself. You might even be staying at the same company as you switch fields, or you’ve started somewhere new but are hoping to find a new coworker to help you along, in which case you can reach out to current teammates. In any case, seeking out people who know your role, and if possible who know the company, can provide you with a wealth of insight and assistance.

Attend events

From conferences to meetups, there’s an abundance of opportunities out there when it comes to meeting other people professionally. Attending events like these will allow you to meet people face-to-face in various points along their careers, from those with decades of experience to peers starting out alongside you. Here, you’ll find people who not only work in but are fully engaged in the field, which is helpful when looking for someone to help you enter, navigate, and grow in any career.

Make use of existing personal connections

Does a family member or friend work in your field, or know someone who does? Reaching out to people with whom you already have an existing personal connection can be a great chance to find a potential mentor. Ask if you can pick their brain about their day to day work, the industry in general, and for advice on breaking into it. When you already know someone (or know someone who knows someone), it’s much easier to make that initial contact.

Be active in online or in-person communities

From the aforementioned alumni groups and meetups, to sites like ClimbTalent’s career development platform for tech and business development grads, being active in professional communities can help enable you to find mentorship. By interacting with others on message boards and meetings, you’ll be able to reach potential mentors who you might otherwise never have encountered — they may even be on the other side of the country, but still able to help you advance. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or to answer others’ questions, and contact people who you think would be a good advisor for you. At the end of the day, the key for how to find a mentor is putting yourself out there!

Attending a Climb partner computer science or business training program, and ready to get to the next stage in your career? Sign up for our free ClimbTalent career development platform to access job listings, resources and tools, mentorships, and more!

How to Find a Mentor

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