Is a Career Mentor Right for You?

If you are in a career transtion, you may be looking to change your career path or, perhaps, to just expand in an area that you have a great passion for but little experience.  If so, you may want to consider finding a career mentor to guide you and help lead you on that new path.  A mentor is a more experienced person who has knowledge and resources to help in one’s career or life.  Similar to a coach, a mentor will help you to set goals and then help you to achieve them, but the work and responsibility is on you.  A mentor will meet with you at designated times to see if you have worked on your goals and provide you with wisdom and knowledge to move your forward.  A mentor will also connect you with influential people and resources that are relevant to your goals.  A mentor basically works with you to show you  how they operate on the job and help you to get to their level.

A career mentor works the same way but in relation to your career transition.  They will help you learn “the ropes” but for the position you want to break into.  For example, say you have some experience in marketing but it is not enough to get you a marketing position.  You know that you would be a great fit and have the talent to connect with people to get them to buy a company’s products or services.  You have found several open positions but you don’t have the required experience to be considered.  Finding a career mentor – in this case, a marketing mentor – would help you to learn more, perhaps with hands-on experience, and then get connected to the people they know who can further your skills and, hopefully, lead you to a job.  A career mentor can expose you to a lot of possibilities because you will learn what they do and know.  If you position your relationship just right, you can become a valued asset to your mentor so they will want to hire you, or lead to you to someone they know who will.

Find a career mentor can be a little challenging, just as in finding any mentor.  You may want to start with family or friends to either see if they might mentor you or know someone who does. You can call previous employers or employers in your desired industry for mentoring possibilities.  The best way is through associations in the industry you are interested in; they often have mentoring programs or can get you in contact with people who would be willing to help.  I belong to the Orlando chapter of the American Society of  Training & Development and served as their lead mentor last year and saw the enrollees reach their career goals and succeed.    So, is a career mentor right for you?   If you have engaged in a mentoring program, would love to hear your experiences.

Seven Sources of Career Indecision

If you are unsure about your career path, regardless if you are a recent entry to the job market, are returning to work, or have questions about career decisions, there may be reasons why. According to Callanan & Greenhaus (1990), there are seven sources that lead to career indecisions that result from either limited experience or knowledge and which they term “developmental indecision.”  Here are the seven sources – see where you fall in:

  1. Lack of Self-Information – not knowing your talents, skills, abilities, values, etc.
  2. Lack of Internal Work Orgranization – not being aware of career opportunities that may be available in your current organization
  3. Lack of External Work Information – not having enough knowledge about opportunities that exist for your occupation, such as companies, industries, locations, pay, status
  4. Lack of Decision Making Self-Confidence – this involves an inability in your confidence or self-assuradness to make decisions
  5. Decision-Making Fear and Anxiety – this can involve fears or worries of making the wrong decision that can stall or prevent you from making a decision
  6. Nonwork Demands – you may feel conflicted to choose between your personal career desires and family needs or demands
  7. Situational Constraints – these are personal constraints that may result due to financial considerations, your age, schooling or years invested in your current career

The key to overcoming career indecision is to do your homework – analyze, assesss, research, and uncover the information you need to help you make a good decision. If you find that you are having difficulty, it would be beneficial for you to seek support, whether that is a friend, family member, or a career coach.   I’d love your feedback if you’ve faced career indecisiveness and what you’ve done about it.