So You're Looking for a Mentor
Every now and then someone will reach out to us about mentorships. Given that we recently were paired with our own mentor through the Forum For Women Entrepreneurs, it got us thinking. How can you give yourself the best chance of connecting with one of your own? It's actually not as complicated as you think and going the extra mile can make a big difference in getting the attention of the mentor you want.
What You're Likely Feeling is Normal and a Mentor Can't Change It
Often times, those that reach out to us about mentorship programs are fresh out of school or starting a new phase of their career. Feeling anxious, unsure, and a little stressed is expected. Wanting to find someone who can help guide you through the beginning of your professional life is normal but know that they can't answer questions like what you should do with your life or what the best job for you is. The sad truth is that these feelings come with the territory. Just know that it's normal and the confidence will come.
Don't Rush It or Force It
It's frustrating wanting to have someone to teach you, challenge you, and guide you but are never able to find that person. We searched our entire careers for marketing mentors and ultimately had to sign up (and pay) for an official program. Know that mentors aren't necessary and it's not just you having a hard time finding one.
A mentorship needs to make sense for both of you and deciding if it makes sense can take some time. Explore your current relationships and maybe make a list of people you'd love to connect with. If there's someone you'd like to have mentor you, then be clear about what you'd like to get out of it.
Finding a mentor can be like dating, you don't want to scare off or come on too strong or needy. Be yourself and be clear about what you're looking to get and what you can give.
Make It Easy
People ask to take us out for coffee all the time and we will make every effort to meet with anyone who requests it. But it helps immensely when people come prepared with questions, are able to meet where it's convenient for us, and are mindful of our time. When someone doesn't do their research and doesn't know about our company, it's a waste of everyone's time.
Make Your Intentions Clear But Drop Any Expectations
If you're really looking for a job, tell us. If you're looking for a mentor, tell us. Ultimately we can't give you what you want if we don't know what that is. Often times we'll meet with someone once and that's the end of it. If you want to meet again or continue a relationship, continue to reach out. Even if it's just through email or the occasional phone call. Our first employee was hired because she reached out and said she wanted to work with us and she kept reaching out until we were ready to bring someone on!
That being said, don't have any expectations. Reaching out to connect or find a mentor can be a bit of a journey so don't put any expectations on someone who might not be able to meet them.
Offer Value In Return
Even if it's your first day out of school, you have something to offer. If you want a mentor to give up some of their time and insights, offer something in return. It can be as small as tips on hashtags for their social media or a gift card to a coffee shop. You want a mentor to be just as excited and eager to see you as you are them right?
Got some marketing questions burning in your brain? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!