What does a career mentor do?
Career mentors tend to be in a full-time position somewhere in the industry. It’s usually not their first gig – they’ve been there for a bit and tend to know how the industry works, have interviewed at companies several times, and might even be hiring managers themselves.
As a mentor, they have the power to give you inside knowledge in how an industry works, and what kind of opportunities are out there. If you’re looking to leverage or gain a specific skillset, they are also the kind of people who know what’s needed to become career-ready.
If you’re matching up with a career mentor, they will most likely help you shape your skills and portfolio to be able to enter the career you want (or grow in the one you are in), they are able to prepare you for the hard questions and long interview processes, and might even be able to leverage their network to expose you to more opportunities.
Why would I need a career mentor?
Most knowledge-based industries are insanely competitive. In the US alone, there are 67 million graduates in STEM degrees right now, with around 9 million jobs opening up every year. These numbers don’t say much, and this doesn’t mean that you’re competing with all graduates in the US for every job, but you’ll most likely never be the only qualified applicant for a job.
A career mentor can help you to become differentiable, prepare you for the needs and requirements of the industry, and both leverage your existing skillset and build new skills with you, so that you stand out.
If you’re looking to grow in your own career, switch careers, or simply are looking for a better job in your industry, a career mentor could be the thing you need.
What are the benefits of having a career mentor?
We briefly went over this in the previous paragraphs, but just to summarize:
- A career mentor can give you an inside scoop of an industry, when it comes to opportunities, content, focus, …
- A career mentor is an excellent source of accountability. Having issues pulling through with something? This is what you need.
- A career mentor can expose you to way more connections and opportunities
- They are a great way of cutting out any material you don’t truly need in your studies
- A career mentor can prepare you for all the “hard stuff” that no other courses can prepare you for (like dealing with a hard interview)
- It’s great to have someone on your path who sticks with you throughout it, and understands the struggles
How do I get a career mentor?
This might be obvious, and we might be biased, but we believe we’re not doing a horrible job matching people with a matching mentor. We’ve been doing this for a while now, and over 500 people don’t lie: Our mentorships are being rated 4.7 out of 5.
However, we totally get that doing this our way is not an option for everyone. We might miss somebody who fits your image, or you might not be ready to pay for a mentorship, so here are a few other sources you could get mentorship from:
- The alumni community of your university
- Your current company
- Online communities
- Schools & Bootcamps
Actually convincing others to mentor you can be difficult though, and is usually an artform in itself. We like our way – picking & signing up with anyone you’d like – but that doesn’t work in real life.
Mentorships in the “real world” are usually formed informally. So just pick who you’d learn from, and send them a few messages. Tell us how it develops!