When I was in college, there was a lot of talk about finding a mentor who could guide you through your career decisions. And to be completely honest, I was a tad skeptical. Why would someone willingly help me? Shouldn’t I hustle to succeed all on my own?
Now that I’m securely into my own full-time career, I’m beginning to see the benefit of having a go-to gal (or guy) to answer questions I can’t ask my boss, celebrate the wins, and mutually support in exciting ways. It’s never too late to find a career mentor, and lucky for you, we’re partnering with Bumble Bizz to share five tips on how to find an effective mentor. And once that hard part is over, we’ll cover how to make the most of your relationship. Dive in below & get two free coins to enhance your experience on the Bumble Bizz app by downloading them here (new users only!).
Tip #1: Identify What You Want + Need
It’s important to start by thinking about the type of person with whom that you want to connect. Try answering these questions:
What industry? Or industries?
What job title? Or what career path?
What information are you hoping to gather?
Why is this career mentor important to you?
Your answers to these questions will help you find clarity, which is important when finding a mentor. You should know what you want before diving in, so that your communication is stronger and your confidence is higher.
Tip #2: Matching Made Easy
Now for the fun part. Finding your mentor! This is much easier than you could imagine, especially now that social media is breaking ground in exciting ways. There are two ways that you should approach this step of the process:
Ask those personal connections. Text, email, and call family and friends, letting them know what you’re looking for (thanks for Tip #1, you’ll be squared away here). If someone can make a personal introduction for you, amazing. You can also try searching on LinkedIn, but keep in mind that an expensive premium account will only let you get super specific with your search. And that’s exactly why I recommend Bumble Bizz instead.
Go digital. Bumble Bizz connects professionals who are actively looking to share and learn from each other. They believe that networking shouldn’t feel so hard or, worse, uncomfortable. What does that mean? You can make life-changing connections at your own pace and on your own terms. Bumble isn’t just about dating anymore, it’s helping you cultivate the career of your dreams.
After you’ve downloaded the Bumble app, you start by crafting a headline, which is essentially an elevator pitch. Focus on what you do, what you’re good at, and what you’re looking for. For example, mine might be “Partnerships Associate looking to expand her passion for writing and developing brand narratives.” This headline will be what first catches someone’s eye, in addition to the photo that you choose. Speaking of which, your photo should be the perfect combination of LinkedIn professional and casual. Headshots are great, but don’t feel inclined to select something that’s not reflective of your true personality.
Another great part of Bumble Bizz? The Profile Prompts. You can answers questions like “The career person I admire the most is,” “Where do you want to see your career 5 years from now,” “My work mantra is...” and more. These will serves as great ice breakers when first starting a conversation with someone new.
Tip #3: Lean In
Don’t be afraid to reach out first, especially on Bumble Bizz. You’ll want to express what excites you about a person’s professional experience and what you’re looking to connect about. You can follow this simple template for sending that first message:
Hi [First Name],
I’d love to connect with you about [insert interest]! I’m also [mutual ground], so I know that we could both benefit from joining our networks.
Here’s what that looks like in real life:
I’d love to connect with you about your experience as an Editorial Director! I’m also passionate about writing and have worked in editorial for several years, so I know that we could both benefit from joining our networks.
Then, you’re off! Ask for their email address when the timing feels right so you can easily transition from the app and into “real life.” Emailing will allow you to schedule a time to chat on the phone or in person.
Tip #4: Schedule Monthly or Quarterly Check-Ins
After you’ve had your first conversation, whether that’s over the phone or in person, and you’ve determined that this is someone you’d like to lean on in the future, schedule monthly or quarterly check-ins. Be courteous of the other person’s schedule, and ask them what structure is mutually ideal. Having a recurring call or in-person coffee means that you can save any big discussions—like career transitions, negotiating contracts, etc.—for when you have their undivided attention. You can, of course, talk to them in the meantime, just don’t be messaging them every single day.
Tip #5: Keep Them Updated on Your Wins
Talking about your accomplishments might seem awkward. But it shouldn’t be. It’s not bragging to share your wins (both big and small) with your network! When you get a raise, promotion, secure a new client, or anything that makes you feel successful, share that with your career mentor. They’ll celebrate with you, keep it in mind, and help you get to the next step when you’re ready for it.
What are your best tips for finding a career mentor? Share in the comments below!
This post is sponsored by Bumble Bizz.