Why it is so important to have a mentor when looking to switch careers

Published March 23, 2020

Mentorship has managed to become a popular and important aspect of the business world. Being able to receive advice from someone who is more experienced than you are on a career path you’ve chosen can help you solve some of the more difficult problems at work. Connecting formally with a professional who’s been involved in the career path of your choice can help make you adjust and improve on your own career.

Why it is so important to have a mentor when looking to switch careers

This is especially true if you are someone who is planning to switch careers. Having someone who can help you transition to your new career path will make sure to learn the ins and out of this new career path plus play a significant part in your overall career success. A mentor who is capable of providing a solid foundation and career support, someone who will make sure you don't get in over your head and someone who will help you stay self-aware throughout your career path will ensure you succeed in every step. They need to be someone who you can put your complete trust and confidence in their ability to guide and cheer you on.

Since you're trying to switch over to a new career, finding yourself a mentor for this new journey is important. Let's go over several reasons why having a mentor is super important when switching careers.

What is a mentor?

Let's start with the basics. Most people reading this article should already know what a mentor is, but not every aspect of it, so let us break it down for you.

A mentor is a person who's an experienced professional who shares their knowledge, skills, expertise, and experience with you during an agreed schedule. They will be able to help you scrutinize your career goals and decisions, advise you on the various challenges you'll deal with, offer constructive criticism and feed. In a sense, they are there to help you reach your full potential on your chosen career path.

They can also introduce you to contacts they've managed to gather throughout the years.

Mentors can be pretty much anybody, it can be a senior member of your company, or it could be someone you met outside the workplace, such as an event. Depending on what you're trying to get out of this relationship, it doesn't need to be someone working in the same industry as you, it could be someone who you want to learn from because you see them as a role model for reasons that don't relate to certain skills you use in the career you've chosen.

A great mentor will be able to have you come out of your comfort zone, motivate you to build upon your strengths, address your weaknesses, and expand your knowledge to improve your skills and experience, all while helping you get ahead in your career.

Let's go into more detail about how they can help you.

They educate you

Your mentor has most likely been in a similar position as you are at the current moment. One reason why you chose them to mentor you is that they've managed to make it to a high position in their company, something you aspire to be. Your mentor has made plenty of mistakes while reaching for the top, which you'll learn about as you meet face-to-face or talk over a live chat.

Staying in touch regularly with your mentor is important, and shouldn't only be done when you're in desperate need of some advice. Remaining in contact with them is great, simply make a schedule that allows you to get in contact with them. Contacting each other can be done with whatever type of schedule you're both comfortable with. You can do it every once a week, or twice a month, or whenever you feel like it.

There will be times when you can meet with one another outside of simply communicating during a scheduled date as well. Such as meeting during certain events that concern your chosen career or even simply meeting up for mentorship on a certain situation. Whether you receive advice from them during the get-together, their input is invaluable and they'll continue to dispense their experience and knowledge so you can successfully climb your way to the top and make as little mistakes as they have done during their time.

Networking opportunities

Networking is one of the many important aspects of the business world. With the years of hard work, they've conducted, your mentor has most likely managed to develop their own professional network that can help with progress in your career. Simply having them introduce you to others can lead to new relationships being made and doors opening up for you and your business that you couldn't have pulled off yourself.

Another bonus factor for having a chance to access this massive network is the opportunity to find other mentors, investors, partners and much more. Just keep in mind that you shouldn't overly depend on your mentor, what you should do is use this opportunity to develop your own network with these people. That way you can amass your own and potentially use it not only to open doors for yourself but to share it with someone else once you've become a professional.

Help you stay focused

There will be days when you are struggling to remain focused on your work. It can be for a variety of reasons, from having a bad day to having trouble making progress on your current projects. This is a great time to get in contact with your mentor for some advice. Your mentor will be able to offer some advice on what you can do during these trying times, or you can simply unload on them in hopes of getting any potential gripes you've been keeping bottled up out of your system. Regardless of your current issue, they will be able to assess your current situation from a fresh perspective and offer an answer that may not have crossed your mind.

They will offer encouragement

Everyone has a positive day and terrible days. Whenever something good happens, it feels amazing to share it with your mentor to gain reassurance, as well as encouragement for even more great days in your life. For instance, let's say you manage to pitch a project idea and everyone likes what they heard and decide to use your idea as their next big thing. Not only will your mentor be proud of your success, but they will compliment you on it.

Furthermore, they'll also probably offer some advice on how you can leverage this success and be the driving force behind other projects as well. If you are somehow worried about trying your luck and bringing this up with your manager, then don't worry, simply ask your mentor for some guidance. They can help you direct you with the proper words to say, so when you go into your workplace, you'll already have a strategy drawn out and be confident then you may have been without that extra bit of help and encouragement.

Terrible days are just something that happens to all of us on occasion. Your mentor will be able to help you pick yourself up and head back into work even if you'd rather remain in bed for the rest of the eternity. They will also be able to help you understand why your day manages to take a nosedive and help you come up with plans that can prevent these awful days. Or at least teach you how to better handle them in case it's something out of your control.

Insider Knowledge

Since a mentor will usually be someone who is a senior member in their industry, they are aware of all sorts of movement and power play in the industry and can offer you all sorts of interesting information. They'll be able to tell about all of the job opportunities, professional course and training programs are currently available. For example, your mentor can inform you about any upcoming opening position for a certain company thanks to their contacts and prepare you for the job interview as well as share personal insight on how the company operates, and it's senior management.

Not only that but if it's something that can help propel your current career, they can offer you several insights that can help boost you ahead several years in your career. For example, let's say you've decided to work in finances, your mentor can potentially guide you on which firm has the best reputation and which ones should be avoided at all costs.

They will be able to offer all sorts of insight that would typically take someone years to gather, allowing you to place yourself in a better and prepared position. So take the time to learn these juicy insights and appropriately apply them.

Feedback

A mentor will become an incredible source of professional feedback, whether it is positive or negative feedback. While getting a quarterly or annual performance review does give you a certain amount of insight, they often don't provide a personal, informed level of information that can help boost your career.

Having a mentor who is willing to be impartial with you will make it easier for you to learn how things work. Your mentor will deliver some of the toughest feedback on ideas you come up with or point out personal weaknesses that need to be worked on.

Furthermore, a mentor can become a safe and unbiased person who you'll be able to bounce ideas off and help you decide which ways to go during certain situations. You can ask them questions you'd never be able to ask your boss or fellow employees. They can also make their own suggestions that can help refine your ideas and provide an efficient or effective plan for achieving your business goals. Asking questions about the appropriate time to ask for a raise or how to deal with certain senior members will be topics they can share valuable advice.

Great Supporters

Mentors are capable of offering far more than plans for promotions or an increase in salaries. They are capable of becoming a support system for your emotions as well. Many people tend to give up after a while because the struggle of climbing their way to the top of their careers can become too much. A mentor will be capable of relighting that fire inside of you and motivating you, which is crucial in the business world.

Being aware that you have someone watching your back can also stir up a huge boost of confidence in a person. Having to march your way into a meeting where you are going to pic an idea becomes easier when you know you've got a great mentor supporting you. Not only that but receiving a pat on the back for a well-done job can make a person feel fantastic.

Your mentor will know when it's time to grieve over a failed work, then pick up the pieces and start putting you back together. They will remind you to learn from this failure and use your failure as a source of fuel to move on and improve yourself.

Teach you new skills

Plenty of mentors will have all sorts of skills in a certain area that you can benefit to learn and understand. While there are only so many tricks and experiences you can pick up during your time as their student, you'll be able to pick up all sorts of skills you weren't aware of. Keeping in mind that your mentor has been in the game longer than you've been. They'll help you perfect the appropriate skills you need to succeed in your career path and make sure you can apply them in the most effective manner possible.

Conclusion

As you can see from this article, having a mentor guide you when changing careers can really smooth things over. You'll be able to gain insight on yourself and the career path you've chosen to follow from these experienced individuals. Not only will they be able to offer you opportunities for this new career of yours but they'll make sure you go in fully prepared to handle anything that's thrown your way.

If you're ready to start receiving some guidance and connect with mentors in an industry that you're passionate about, then give our platform a try and we're sure you'll be impressed!