Seven Reasons Why You Need a Mentor

1 December 2022

What is a mentor?

Simply put, a mentor is a trusted guide and confidant with industry-specific experience who can help you navigate your career development.

Why do I need a mentor?

There are many reasons to have a mentor, but here are seven important ones.

1. Education guidance

You might be approaching grade 12 graduation and wondering what you want to be when you grow up. You may have some interests, but now it’s time to start exploring.

Reach out to a variety of established professionals in careers that interest you. Ask them for an informational interview, then find out what career path they took. You’ll gain valuable insights to help guide your next steps. 

Keep their contact information and stay in touch from time-to-time. They’ll be pleased if you have followed a professional route related to their own, and they may be willing to offer ongoing advice and assistance.

2. Career guidance

You have picked a career and you have the appropriate education and training. Perhaps you are looking for a position in your field, or you are looking for ways to move up the ladder. Maybe you are wondering what companies or positions would provide the best opportunity for you. Who do you lean on for support? There is no better source for career goal advice than someone who has years of experience in a similar career and understands the big picture. If you don’t have a career mentor by now, it’s time to find one.

3. Soundboard

You have choices to make. You may be wondering which strategy to pitch to upper management. You might have to decide whether to accept a job offer or stay with the job you have. Or you could be deciding on an upgrade to your professional training.

These are important career decisions and it’s difficult to view the outcomes of each option. A mentor brings important insight into these discussions. They understand organizational structure, management personalities and industry-specific details. Soliciting their input can help you assess the risks and rewards of each option and navigate the decision-making process.

4. Networking

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know, or so the saying goes. Even if the adage skips over the value of education and training, there is truth to the importance of networking. Your mentor has worked in the industry for years and probably has a rolodex full of contacts. When it’s time to look for a new position, your mentor may be able to provide introductions. 

5. Salary negotiation

“What are your salary expectations?” is one of the most intimidating parts of the job search process. You don’t want to price yourself out of the position and you don’t want to sell yourself short. Your mentor can advise what salary ranges are offered for specific positions. This can give you a significant head start in the negotiation process.

6. Constructive criticism

When your trusted mentor suggests a better approach on something, you can be sure it’s based on your interests. This unfiltered opinion can be invaluable to helping you move your career forward.

7. Words of encouragement

Sometimes you need positive affirmation to help you start /complete a project or get through tough times. Encouragement helps with self-confidence, motivation and validation. A good mentor will recognize when you need words of encouragement and will deliver them at the appropriate opportunity.

There is nobody else that can help you prosper like a mentor. To discover how to find one, check out Seven Easy Steps to Find a Mentor.