mentor, finding a mentor, learning new skills, learning in demand skills, projects, challenges, projectships
CAREER / 14 December 2016
The 4-Step Formula For Finding A Mentor
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Stefano Ganddini

You’ve probably heard a lot about the importance of having mentors. Probably in a speech or on a podcast or something like that. Or maybe you have a friend who is always talking about how great his or her mentor is. 

But, while everyone always talks about the importance of having mentors, people rarely talk about how to find a mentor in the first place. 

I’ll show you how easy it can be to find a mentor in just a second, but first, let me just say that you don’t find a mentor by going up to someone and asking them, “will you be my mentor?” 

That’s going to make things real awkward real fast (especially if they say no).

You see, in order for someone to be your mentor, the relationship doesn’t have to be explicit. It can be—for example, at the last company I worked at, every new hire was formally assigned a “peer advisor” (AKA a mentor)—but most of the time it’s not.

Most mentorships are formed more organically and informally. 

That being said, there’s a simple process you can follow to find a mentor almost anywhere. It’s a process that I’ve used successfully on multiple occasions. 

It’s a 4 step formula that goes like this: 

1. Find someone who you would like to mentor you. 

Ideally, look for someone who isn’t too far ahead of you in their career. Someone who’s only a couple of years ahead of you would be perfect. They’ll be able to give you all the advice you need to get to the next level, and they’ll be more willing to help you than anyone else because they were just in your shoes not too long ago.

2. Ask them one question. 

Spend some time familiarizing yourself with this person’s work and expertise, either by talking to them in person or by finding any information that’s already publicly available about them (books, blogs, social media profiles, etc.). Then, ask them one very specific question that you think they’d enjoy answering, based on your understanding of their expertise. Make sure you do the research and work before you ask them for help once they become your mentor. You don’t want to be in a situation where they are giving you answers you should already know.

3. Implement their advice. 

This is the important part—taking action. If you’re going to ask someone for help, take their advice to heart and actually do what they say to do. This is what will separate you from everyone else and show your future mentor that you’re worth their time. Most people don’t follow through.

4. Close the loop. 

Okay, the last step was important, but this is the most important step. Because even if you did act on their advice, but you don’t follow up with them, they’ll never know. After you’ve taken action on their advice, make sure to let them know how their advice has benefited you, sharing tangible results if there were any, and thanking them for their help. If you do this, you will very likely secure yourself a mentor who will be more than happy to help you again in the future.  

That’s all it takes! 

As long as you’re not asking for too much, people are usually more than happy to help. Start small, and let the relationship grow organically from there. 

Projectships come with mentors who are working professionals available to help you, critique you and advise you on how to do better. If they like what they see you may get hired with the company you are doing a project for. 

If you want a mentor that will help you with real life projects, take the first step and register for a project