The Power of Mentors: A Guide to Finding and Learning from Your Ideal Mentor

The Power of Mentors: A Guide to Finding and Learning from Your Ideal Mentor

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR Understanding how to find mentors and how to leverage mentors is probably the single most underrated career skill. People know they should have mentors. They tell themselves they should work on that. But for most of us, getting a mentor doesn't reach the top of our to do list. I have compiled these blog posts with the hope that after you read them, you will put getting a mentor at the top of your list. It's not something that is just a phone call. It's a process, and like all big goals, you need to work on it a little bit each day. You are probably thinking: What do I DO each day in order to get a mentor? You'll find the answer to that question right here, so keep reading.There are three pieces to the mentor problem. The first is making yourself believe that your career will never take off if you don't have good mentors. The next thing is you need to be able to rope in a mentor. Or three, really. Most people need three good mentors at any given time. The next problem is how do you ask the right questions of a mentor so you keep the mentor engaged and feeling useful. I have had many mentors throughout my career. Some were accidental and some were people I stalked for years. Some were people I hired (career coaches can be a stand-in for a mentor) and some were people I fired (you can learn a lot from someone you fire because they know how you can be a better boss!). I hope this set of blog posts will show you a path to making your career more fulfilling and inspiring by surrounding yourself with people who enjoy helping you. Good luck! Penelope BOOK EXCERPT Why You Need a Mentor Now Of course a good education and talent are keys to building a successful career, but for most people, school is over and the parameters of their talent were set on the day they were born. So what can you do now to get ahead? Get a mentor. In fact, get a stable of mentors for guidance on multiple aspects of your career. "Executives who have had mentors have earned more money at a younger age," writes Gerard Roche, senior chairman at the recruiting firm Heidrick & Struggles. Additionally, his research shows "those who have had mentors are happier with their career progress and derive greater pleasure from their work." The majority of executives had mentors in their first five years of their career. But finding a mentor is not easy. For a lucky few, mentors can be found through a privileged network of relatives, family friends or your parents' business associates. For everyone else, the search requires patience, a clear focus and the self-confidence to be a nudge. "Not everyone can depend on nepotism," says Alisyn Camerota, New York-based correspondent for Fox News. "I got where I am by turning reluctant people into active mentors." The easiest way to create allies is to build a reputation as an overachiever. That's what Camerota did during an internship early on in her career at a Washington, D.C.-based news bureau. After earning the respect of her boss throughout the summer, she came to rely on her for advice and support. Eventually Camerota felt empowered enough to walk into her office and say, "My internship ends in a week and I don't have a job. Can I have all your contacts?" She said yes. Camerota copied the whole Rolodex onto a legal pad by hand and cold called the contacts until someone agreed to interview her. Those calls later led to a full-time job. Buy the Book to Read More!