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Get Ahead in Your Career with a Mentor


A woman shaking hands with a man in an office.


​Developing multiple mentor relationships can be critical to the success of your career as an emerging HR professional. A mentor can provide focused personalized support for your goals. Mentors can also be a good sounding board and resource for feedback on your career path.

More than 44 percent of U.S. workers say they have never had a mentor. More than half of young professionals are missing out without a mentor. Those who have had the experience feel they are well-paid and feel valued by their colleagues.

By the Numbers—the Benefits of Mentoring

  • Mentees are 5x more likely to be promoted than those going it alone.1
  • Nearly a quarter of employees with a mentor received a salary increase while only 5 percent of those without a mentor received a raise.1
  • Nine in 10 workers with a mentor say they feel happier within their career.1

The typical mentoring relationship lasts an average of 3.3 years,2 and participants devote an average of four hours per month talking with each other.

Take the Relationship Seriously

Mentors are busy professionals who are willing to set aside time to help you develop the career of your dreams. Respect their time and expertise by:

  • Showing up.
  • Arriving on time.
  • Being prepared to share challenges and efforts made from previous conversations.
  • Making the effort to keep up the relationship.
  • Being flexible.
  • Having a set of career-oriented goals.

8 Places to Find a Mentor

Finding the right mentor is a little bit like dating. You need to determine if the person offering to mentor you is the right fit. And it's OK to change mentors as your career advances or your goals change. Here are eight places you can discover a mentor.

  1. Ask a professor. This doesn't necessarily have to be someone you've taken a class with. It could be an advisor or a college staff member you've worked with in volunteer or extracurricular activities.
  2. Tap into senior students. Seniors have already started networking and working with mentors and can offer advice to help you find the same.
  3. Complete an internship. Your supervisor or others you interact with as an intern can be a great source for finding a mentor.
  4. Join professional organizations. Experienced members enjoy giving back to newbies by serving as mentors.
  5. Participate in the SHRM Foundation HR Career Mentoring program, a free three-month experience.
  6. Reach out to someone who has accomplished what you would like to accomplish and inquire about the person's interest in mentoring.
  7. Leverage social media platforms. LinkedIn is the most widely used social media platform for professionals, but Twitter is another place HR leaders spend time. Follow their posts, comment and interact.
  8. Consider someone you know through volunteer work or hobbies, or who is a former boss.

Pro Tip: Working with a mentor is fundamentally about developing a relationship where you can turn for trusted feedback—not an outlet to find a job. Show appreciation for the individual for taking time out of their schedule by showing up and doing the work.


Endnotes:

1 https://www.pushfar.com/article/mentoring-statistics-everything-you-need-to-know/

2 https://online.olivet.edu/research-statistics-on-professional-mentors

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