How Professional Mentoring Can Jumpstart Your Business Career

By Lisa Duryee, Faculty

working going through professional mentoring

Stories of the benefits of having a mentor to help promote professional growth abound, but while it may sound like a nice idea, how do you go about finding a mentor and what do you do once you have one? Mentorship can be a great way to gain a foothold as a new employee, move up the proverbial ladder, gain experience outside your current job role or simply build a mutually supportive professional connection. While finding the right person to be a mentor might feel like a challenge, the good news is, it might be easier than you think. Explore ways to seek out a mentor and benefit from this type of professional, mutually advantageous relationship.

How To Find a Career Mentor

While networking may sound somewhat like a buzzword, the reality is that getting to know a variety of people within your organization or line of work can help you establish relationships that can develop into a professional mentorship. Informal ways to meet others in your workplace outside of your immediate team or department might include casual conversations in the elevator or break room, especially with those in areas you may be interested in transitioning to in the future. Never underestimate the power of conversation in establishing a strong connection.

Volunteering for committee work in your company is another good way to get to know employees or supervisors outside your circle. Letting your manager know you are interested in joining a committee can help get your foot in the door. Joining a professional organization can also lead to meeting people in similar industries, especially as remote work has become more common, making workplace relationship building more difficult.

The important thing to remember about a mentorship is that it should be mutually beneficial and positive. Knowing someone just because it could benefit you isn’t the goal. A mentor is someone who knows the challenges you face and is willing to help you overcome them over time. Developing a professional relationship requires a balance in accountability and expectations from both parties in a trust-based environment. It involves honesty and candor, as well as mutual respect. It is easy to see why finding the right mentor is imperative.

Benefits of a Professional Mentor

As exciting as a new job is, being the new person at work can be stressful and even lonely. It can take time to get to know coworkers and not all organizations are created equally when it comes to onboarding. Finding a mentor in a new workplace can be difficult, but it's well worth the effort. 

Not only can a mentor ease the transition into your new role, just having a veteran employee to learn from can lessen anxiety and increase your comfort level faster than going it alone. This kind of professional relationship can also set the stage for future opportunities as you become more settled in your current position. Gaining insight and knowledge in this type of supportive setting builds better employees, and better employees mean a better organization. The opportunity to contribute to the greater good of a company as a new hire is a win-win.

Asking an immediate supervisor or department manager for help can be a good starting place in finding a suitable mentor. Indicating the desire to have a professional mentor can demonstrate initiative and drive. Showing an interest to become more involved also embodies dedication to the company. Many people within organizations are ready and willing to take on a mentee, especially a new employee eager to invest their time and effort in a professional mentorship. All you have to do is take the first step.

New Professional Mentorship

Getting a promotion or higher paying job is a common goal among most employees. Learning more about your company and those in it can be helpful when interviewing for internal job openings. A fellow employee holding a job in a department you are interested in can mentor you in what skills, knowledge and abilities you should develop or improve upon.

You may also be interested in applying for external job openings and moving to a new company, or even a new city. A mentor can be essential in helping you build connections and establish groundwork outside your current network. This is also where memberships in professional organizations can pay off. Developing mentorships through this kind of association may prove beneficial when seeking a job in unknown territory. Involvement is key.

As a mentorship develops, your mentor gets to know you, and vice versa, allowing for a better understanding of your level of experience and what you are capable of. This allows them to customize their expertise to help you achieve your goals. This relationship also allows you to ask questions, gain insight and mature as an employee as well as a potential job candidate. Knowledge is power.

Mutually Supportive Leadership

Sometimes a mentorship simply means having someone to share experiences with, bounce ideas off of and grow professionally together. As the person others often seek out for guidance, managers and organizational leaders are not immune to the need for support as well. While it may seem counterintuitive to form professional relationships with people who may be viewed as the competition, there is value in connecting with others having similar positions and experiences. Mentorship allows for a fresh perspective, and seeing things through a different lens can open the door to new thought processes. Learning from other’s successes, or even failures, can translate into innovative ideas and positive change. The possibilities are endless.

Whether you are new to an organization, a current employee looking to move up the corporate ladder, or a seasoned leader with years of experience, the advantages gained from professional mentorships are clear. Networking can lead to finding a mentor who can help you develop and achieve your goals. It may seem intimidating in the beginning, but don’t let that stop you. Take that first step, reach out and get started building mutually beneficial mentorships for the betterment of your professional career.

Are you interested in growing your knowledge and skills in order to be a better job candidate or attract a professional mentor? A Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Grand Canyon University (GCU) might be a great choice. This degree program focuses on business communication and critical thinking, information literacy, data analysis, business operations and environments as well as legal, ethical and values-driven business. For other top-rated business degrees, check out GCU's Colangelo College of Business.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.

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