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Saturday, 18 June 2016

3 Ways to Find the Ideal Mentor for Your Career Transition

These tips can help you find the best voice of wisdom when moving into another field.

Boss and Intern talking at the office.
Make sure you and your mentor have similar visions for your success.
By + More
Any type of career transition can be scary, even for the most confident of professionals. There is some element of risk required, and usually, an element of the unknown in what's next and how to implement the transition. One of the biggest challenges that people in career transition face is trying to convince their families, friends, coworkers and the people who know them best that change is a good thing. Maybe you have decided on what you want to do but aren't sure how to break the news to others. Perhaps you don't know what you want to do and it seems even more daunting to tell them, knowing you will come across as uncertain and hesitant.
Regardless of whether you are certain about your direction or not, it can be difficult to reassure people you are headed on the path to success. And because sometimes you experience the most resistance to your ideas from the people who mean the most, having it feel like your main support system is caving in can affect how successful you are in your transition. Discouraging comments about your change can knock you off track completely; it can feel like the wind has been knocked out of you. Making a career change in any way can be scary and isolating. This is what makes having a mentor during a career change so important.
A mentor can be a critical element on your journey. They can provide reassurance but also sage advice about what to do next. A mentor can be anyone in your industry, a trusted family friend or a career coach. But the common denominator is that they are someone who knows what it's like to be in transition, and how it feels to get to the other side. But how can you make sure that the mentor you choose is right for you? Before you start making a list of possible people you could approach and places to find a mentor, here are a few things to consider.





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Choose a mentor who shares a similar career vision. When choosing a mentor, first determine what your vision for your career is. You want to find someone who shares a similar vision of success or someone who has been on a similar path to yours. For example, they are in the same industry in aposition you'd like to be in. Or they have done a great job achieving career success but also work-life balance. Take some time to think about, based on what you know about them or have observed, what their vision is and if it is similar to yours. If you don't share the same big-picture career vision with your mentor, that can create problems when asking for advice on how to get to the next level. The bottom line is, be clear about how you think they can help you on your path because of similarities in where you are going.
Choose a mentor who shares your values. This could create another potential problem if your mentor does not share at least some of your core values. Of course, everyone is different, so their values don't all have to be exactly the same as yours. But it would be reasonable to expect your mentor to share at least one or two of your top career values. You'll then speak the same language, and understand each other's goals. So, be clear about your values first, before approaching someone else.
Determine your commitment level. For a mentor to really be effective, you must commit to working together. You have to be serious about keeping in touch with one another, perhaps even making a formal agreement. Decide on the amount of time you are willing and able to give to a mentoring relationship. And when you form an alliance with someone, develop a plan of action together – how frequently you will meet, where and for how long, what will you discuss and how you will know the relationship is effective for both of you.
Having a good mentor can be hugely beneficial, so make sure to go over important aspects of the relationship so that they will be able to best help you in your career transition.

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