The importance of seeking out a mentor at the start of your career

mentoringThe early months and years of your professional life are often the most fulfilling, but they can also be among the more complex to navigate. This is the time when you really need to be a sponge, learning as much as you can from what and who is around you. Yet, at the same time comes pressure to display confidence and to show others that you know what you’re doing.

These insecurities can often lead to young professionals brushing aside the help of more experienced colleagues. Indeed, as Chris Myers, CEO of points out, millennials rarely take advantage of the range of mentoring opportunities that are on offer.

From a career development perspective it’s important to be able to work through these insecurities and to seek out help and advice from older colleagues wherever you can. A mentorship program is a great platform for doing this; here are just some of the reasons why:

1. Mentors are a great source of knowledge

If nothing else, a mentor is someone who has seen and done much of it all before. A good mentor will make time to share their knowledge and expertise with you, saving you considerable time (and, potentially, mistakes) during those crucial early few months.

2. They provide essential feedback

Having a good understanding of your strengths and weaknesses is critical to your professional development. This form of self-awareness doesn’t always come naturally – a mentor can act as a mirror and provide direct, constructive feedback when you need it.

3. They can help you navigate problems and challenges

A mentor will usually have a keen interest in your career progression and attainment. Having someone to empathise with you during stressful periods and to provide much-needed counsel can be an invaluable asset.

4. They can help accelerate your career

Your mentor will likely be someone who has moved ahead quickly in their career and will be looking to help you do the same. This can mean anything from offering advice to introducing you to their network.

Of course mentoring isn’t an exact science. It depends on there being a good match of personalities and expectations, and things might not click straight away. It can involve trial and error; however, with a bit of patience it can prove a great springboard in the early stages of your career.

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