Recent college graduates have a lot on their minds as they embark on their future careers. We ask where we'll live, who's hiring, and how much we'll make, for starters. While we sort out our wages and whereabouts, we should also consider who will help lead the way to a successful career.
Enter the mentor, a seasoned insider in the corporate world, an advocate for your professional development, and a trusted colleague who can help you survive the office status quo.
The ideal mentor works in your career field or department and has demonstrated professional growth and advancement. And for the best shot at success, you'll want to latch on to this person as soon as you get the new gig for the following reasons:
Your Mentor Can Fill You in on Office Politics
When you have a trusted coworker who can spell out the department dynamics, you'll be more adept at not stepping on the toes of other teammates and management. Your mentor is a great intermediary, and you can go to them before disturbing an unsuspecting director or flapping gums with a gossipy secretary. He or she can offer clues about all the personalities you'll encounter, sparing you from frustrating interactions and even some touchy situations with disgruntled employees.
A mentor can offer clues about the personalities you'll encounter and the department dynamics.
They Can Help You Design Your Future Career
It's wise to seek out a mentor in a particular job role that you desire early on. Shadow them to pick up their good habits, priming you to rise up into a similar position one day.
Mentors Are the Best Ice Breakers
Meeting new coworkers can be intimidating, especially when everyone is far older than you and speaking office lingo that you don't quite get yet. Mentors can decode those awkward discussions and help you feel included and comfortable. And a good mentor will introduce you to others who may also offer mentorships of their own.
Mentorship Doesn't Have To Be Limited to One Person
It's perfectly okay to have mentors in many areas. You can learn the good workflow habits of one colleague while appreciating the office-friendly fashions of another.
They'll Protect You from Office Abuses
While a good mentor can't and shouldn't shield you from every single negative office experience, he or she can keep an eye out for coworkers who seek to take advantage of their fresh, new teammates. Talk frequently about your workload with your mentor because they can call out burnout before it happens. Mentors are also helpful in warding off female sabotage in the workplace.
Talk about your workload with your mentor because they can call out burnout before it happens.
Mentors Have Professional Tools To Boost Your Resume
Ask your mentor about his or her professional societies or clubs. A lot of your colleagues won't talk about these things except to brag, but a mentor will share their experiences with you and even introduce you to their connections to help you be considered for membership in the future.
They'll Help You Stick through the Hard Times
A new career is met with excitement but also regret. Talking about this with a trusted professional who has walked your walk can help you feel at ease about your shortcomings. He or she can offer tips on how to overcome workplace hurdles so you can stay the course.
Mentors Are Great Advocates in Sticky Situations
Mistakes happen, and explaining them to a manager can be hard. Mentors are great at mediating these discussions and being a solid example of what to do when face to face with a problem. They can also give you one-on-one personal development when your manager is too busy.
Mentors can give a solid example of what to do when face to face with a problem.
Many Companies Offer Mentoring Programs
Early mentorship is shown to be effective in every company setting. In fact, more than 71% of Fortune 500 companies employ a mentoring program. Corporations and small businesses alike understand the benefits, and a good company will encourage you to develop such a relationship at work. They know that companies that embrace mentorship tend to have happier employees that want to stay there longer.
There's this myth that mentorship is only needed when problems arise or when we're feeling stuck in our careers. That couldn't be further from the truth. The sooner we welcome mentors into our lives, the more fulfilling our roles will be. Every young woman starting her new career is worthy of support and encouragement, and there’s a helpful professional willing to help her live out her potential if she wants it.
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