As we are well aware, our careers today are the most complex and fast-paced as they’ve likely ever been before. Each of us face continuing learning curves, new jobs, constantly updating technology, and numerous global challenges. Adding on to this, gender stereotypes that women must still overcome, as well as the negotiation to start families at peak career development stages. It’s easy to see why great mentors for women have never been as crucial as it is today.
It might be surprising that even the most ambitious young professional women can struggle to find the right mentor. At a gathering to celebrate the recently published list of the Top 25 Women of Influence in Canada, advice was gathered for ways in which to find a mentor. Some are more obvious than others, but are worth considering if you are finding it difficult to locate the right person to help your career development.
Use social media to demonstrate what you’re good at, your interests and your strengths
Put your best self out there on social media. Take the time to create a profile that showcases your talent and strengths, as well as experiences. And don’t forget to look for, and connect with, people with common goals and experiences to expand your network.
Reach out to people you admire. Don’t sit and wait for a mentor to find you
The best mentors are often the women who you establish a relationship and find a connection with, which then develops naturally into a mentor-protégé pairing. Sometimes the word “Mentor” need never be used, but the value is there all the same.
Pay it forward. Offer to help junior people or senior people to create mentor moments
Join a project, a group or team so that you have the opportunity to bond and get to know others you admire in a comfortable environment. Helping on both sides of the ladder benefits everybody, and you might learn a lot more than you think.
Surround yourself with good people
Along with potential mentors, find people who you think may be willing to help you discover your strengths, talents, and weaknesses are. Who are the successful women in your organization? What do they do that helps position them for success?
Have as many mentoring moments as you can
A mentor could be someone you have coffee or lunch with only once. If they help you through one specific detail of your career, then that’s pretty great. And in this way we can reduce the pressure on ourselves to snag that lifelong mentor, and instead benefit from the seemingly small moments that only later we realize were significant.
If you ask any of the top female executives in business and other fields, most will acknowledge the important role a mentor played at some point in their careers. Maybe it was only a moment or maybe it was a long-term relationship, but what matters is they put themselves out there to learn from the women who were once where you are now. And they made it, so that you will too.