How to Find a Mentor For Career Success

iStock 000009172087XSmall 150x150 How to Find a Mentor For Career SuccessI replied to a question this week on LinkedIn and thought I’d share my thoughts with you on the topic of mentoring. Here is a short excerpt from the comment and subsequent question submitted:

“I don’t know how to navigate the professional world. It is like I am an outsider looking in. As an African American woman, I don’t have any willing connections in my family. I am actively networking, taking classes to gain new skills, writing blogs, and interning; this way I can groom myself into the professional I want to be…”

My answer was as follows:

Thank you for your note & for expressing your challenges so honestly. I will share that I have been mentored and I have mentored. In most cases where I was on the receiving end, I actively pursued the relationship. There have been both good AND bad experiences on either side – I chose to learn from both.

One of the conversations that came out of the recent Women of Color Career Success telesummit I hosted focused on the topic of mentoring and where to find them. There were 3 strategies highlighted from the panel:

1) Pursue mentoring relationships with people who already at a level for which you are aspiring – seeking a combination of mentors with similar backgrounds as you AND those who can share a completely different perspective;

2) Peer-to-peer mentoring – reach out to positive, motivated colleagues and others within your field for idea/resource sharing; and

3) “remote” mentoring – seek out books, presentations, and media that may have messages you can apply to your own situation for growth. If something really appeals to you, consider contacting the author, etc to let them know how their ideas have helped you – social media really opens possibilities here. You never know until you try.

“Mentoring” was very loosely defined in each case but the ultimate message was that you can learn from just about anyone’s experiences.

Lastly I will add these tips:
* Don’t be intimidated to ask anyone you have identified as a possible mentor for you. The worst they can do is say no. * You should not expect someone else to invest in you what you don’t invest in yourself and others. Definitely look at ways you can mentor and give back. * And if you happen to run into that not-so-great experience, you can learn lessons from that too. It just may be “what not to do”.

I hope others will chime in and offer their advice and perspectives on your questions.

Best success to you, Tanya

What are your thoughts around mentoring and what advice would you offer someone for finding a mentor?

About the Author: Tanya Smith of Be Promotable helps ambitious professional women of color develop a competitive personal brand strategy for the career of their dreams. To get instant access to her free special report on Simple Steps High Performing Sistas Need to Know for Career Success stop by and visit

© 2011 Be Promotable All Rights Reserved -- Copyright notice by Blog Copyright

SEO Powered By SEOPressor