Looking For a Professional Mentor? Make Sure You're an Appealing Mentee.

Networking and mentorship are important tools for building your career. Each requires its own unique brand of initiative. To find a mentor, you first need to demonstrate that you'd be a good mentee.

To succeed in most careers, one needs both to master networking and align oneself with mentors and confidants. While achieving the former has been discussed time and time again in this space, not enough attention is paid to the importance of mentoring. Climbing social ladders requires taking the hands of magnanimous folks above you and receiving a helpful lift. But how do you convince potential mentors to take time out of their lives to help you out?


Kathy Caprino at Forbes has a few ideas:

"First, it’s critical to know that, to find great mentors, you don’t want to reach out to strangers. That’s not how you’ll find them."

While it seems like common sense to not waste time penning letters to Bill and Melinda Gates, many aspiring mentees don't realize that finding a mentor mostly means attracting a mentor. This is not something you get through cold calling. Caprino quotes Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg:

“If someone has to ask the question, the answer is probably no. When someone finds the right mentor, it is obvious.  The question becomes a statement. Chasing or forcing that connection rarely works.”

In order to attract mentors, you need to inspire successful people you already know. Demonstrate your worth and ambition. Show them you're someone in whom they should invest time and effort.

If you're not already on those folks' radar, Caprino offers a few suggestions to fix that:

"Give, and give more.  Tweet out their posts, comment in a positive way on their blogs, share their updates, start a discussion on LinkedIn drawing on their post, refer new clients or business to them, and the list goes on."

You definitely don't want to come across as sycophantic, but you do need to butter them up a little bit. Again, your prospective mentor likely has plenty of candidates for his or her time. Find what appeals to them -- hard work, stroking the ego, etc. -- and employ strategies to get their attention.

Finally (and to echo some points from earlier), Caprino says that to obtain mentorship you have to demonstrate your reliability as a potential mentee. This means you should strive to be a good citizen within your office and industry. Hone your expertise and establish a reputation for success and professionalism. No one's going to want to mentor a lost little puppy dog or a fixer-upper. No one's going to treat you like Julia Roberts from Pretty Woman. Instead, you have to lay the necessary roots for a mentor relationship before you can take the step big step.

Read more at Forbes

Photo credit: Warren Goldswain / Shutterstock

Related Articles

To save us, half of Earth needs to be given to animals

We're more dependent on them than we realize.

(Photo Lily on Unsplash)
Surprising Science
  • Scientists says our survival depends on biodiversity.
  • A natural climate strategy we often forget.
  • Seeing our place among the Earth's living creatures.
Keep reading Show less

New infographics show how cigarette smokers are socially penalized

There's a high social cost that comes with lighting up.

(Porch)
Sex & Relationships
  • The home improvement company Porch recently polled 1,009 people on their feelings about smoking.
  • The company recently published the results as infographics.
  • In terms of dating, 80 percent of nonsmokers find the habit a turnoff
Keep reading Show less

The "catch" to being on the keto diet

While short-term results are positive, there is mounting evidence against staying in ketosis for too long.

Brendan Hoffman / Getty
Surprising Science
  • Recent studies showed volunteers lost equal or more weight on high-carb, calorie-restricted diets than low-carb, calorie restricted diets.
  • There might be positive benefits to short-term usage of a ketogenic diet.
  • One dietician warns that the ketogenic diet could put diabetics at risk for diabetic ketoacidosis.
Keep reading Show less