Mentors can offer essential advice and assistance for any young professional looking to take the next career step. Such a pairing gives the chance to pick up practical knowledge, make useful contacts and deal effectively with new challenges.
So, if your current employer has a mentorship programme, take advantage of it. If you don't have access to a formal scheme, seek out someone suitable and build a beneficial relationship. In doing so, you should:
Identify your needs Is your priority to gain a broader perspective or improve specific skill sets? Do you want guidance on career moves or ways to win new business? Understand your primary goals and be clear about the main objectives.
Narrow the field Look first within your company for a potential mentor and sound out a few people. If no one fits the bill, ask friends and colleagues for suggestions, and consider people you've met through professional contacts and outside interests.
Be straightforward When putting the request, explain your reasons and say what you're looking for. Don't make it seem too time-consuming or demanding. People will be more ready to help if the commitment is easy to manage. And always show due appreciation for any help, advice or guidance that's offered.
Andrew Morris, managing director, Greater China, Robert Half International