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Mentors make you

Published on Friday, 29 Nov 2013
Kate Harper

Often, a recruiter will ask you: "What's your medium-term or five-year career goal?" Our aim is to understand which opportunities and businesses we should be aligning you to, in order to give you the best chance of achieving that goal. It surprises me when candidates are unsure.

Of course, goal posts change. Very few of us are in the jobs we planned for ourselves five years ago and we have been working within an employment environment that has sometimes hindered our short-term goals.

Allowing this market to cull future aspirations, or entering a job-hunt or interview process without clear future objectives, will inevitably let you down. With an understanding of your goal, your recruiter can act as a mentor, helping you understand what your options are.

Mentor programmes are available in most businesses and networking groups. A sponsor or mentor experienced enough to support you in defining and executing your goals or championing you internally is invaluable to your progress.

My mentor, Anna Stephenson, COO of Sinopac Solutions and Services and co-chair of Women in Finance Asia, says: "Talking to someone about what motivates you, what parts of your work you enjoy and what you are good at can help you to identify themes and values in your life and work. This can help you focus your aspirations and decide what skills you need to acquire or improve.

"Internal or external mentoring programmes can be really helpful. If you don't have a formal mentor, try a networking event for informal conversations with others in your industry. It's a great way to discover roles you might not even have known existed."

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