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.

How Clear Are You On Your Job Search?

If you are in a job transition, I am sure that there are times when you feel discouraged or frustrated.  When you don’t hear any feedback from employers, i.e. interview or rejection letter, it leaves a void of the unknown.  You don’t know if your resume was reviewed, or is sitting in a stack of call-backs, or if it is in the shredder.  There may be a glimmer of hope that “someday” they may call.  But this hope inevitably leads to rejection and feelings of despair.  You throw your hands in the air and lose yourself in some mundane task to ease the “pain”.  But, the next day you get up and go to your computer to look at the job boards and send out fify more resumes to jobs you may or may not be interested in.  You just feel compelled to apply for jobs in the hopes that someone will call.

If this sounds like you, then it’s time to refine you search and become more clear on focusing on positions that match your skills and experience.  Spending your time on focused job activities will help you feel more in control of your efforts and can lead to better results.  It can also give you time for rest and relaxation, which are vital to your emotional health; it can give you new perspectives and keep you going when you may not have the drive or motivation.

If you are in career management mode, you would be clear.  If you have done a self-assessment of your skills and talents, then you would know which jobs to go after.  If you have assessed your preferred work environment, you would know which organizations to call.  If you have done the research on specific job positions that interest you, you would know if it is a “fit” for you.  Doing those assessments, and having very clear, definitive answers, will get you more focused – you will be clear on what type of job you want and will know who hires.  When someone asks you what type of job you are looking for, you will be able to answer quickly and definitively; you will come to the minds of others when they are looking to hire or know someone who is. 

It is not too late to become clear on how you want your job search to proceed.  You can start from “scratch” in refining your job search strategy by going back and clearly assesing your skills, talents and experience. Once you have a clearer picture, match them with the job(s) that interest you and that you are a match for.  When you have those identified, you can now do a little research on which organizations hire for your identified jobs and can learn more about the hiring personnel and of the organization.  Now, it is time to map out a plan for the days of the week and the activities you will do on a daily basis. 

It may look something like this:

Monday:   9-11am  Search job boards for open positions

                   12           Lunch

                   1-3pm    Write cover letters, apply for targeted positions

Tuesday    9-10      Search job boards for new positions

                   10-11    Call 5 people to network

                   11:30 – 1pm – Attend XYZ networking group

                   2-4pm  Read industry magazines to research companies, trends

 Being very specific with how your spend your time and on what activities will streamline your efforts and help keep you motivated.  You will be able to stay the course.  What activities help, or have helped, you to become clear in your job search? Would love to hear your comments!

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