Connecting With The Pros
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Connecting With The Pros

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Networking for professional opportunities is a proven strategy. Before you become a professional, consider developing contacts through a student/mentor relationship.

Networking for professional opportunities is a proven strategy. Before you become a professional, consider developing contacts through a student/mentor relationship.

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  • 1. Connecting with the Pros How to Seek Out a Mentor
  • 2. Impact of Mentoring
    • Based on a survey by the American Society for Training and Development, 75 percent of executives indicated that mentoring had been critical in helping them reach their current position. 
    • In addition to professional advancement, mentors contribute knowledge, skills, and new contacts.
  • 3.
    • "Mentors can do a number of things for your career.  They can help you build your resume, guide you on a project, and help you identify resources, including referring you to other mentors and important people in your field," said Ken Williams, director of the New Voices National Fellowship Program and author of "Mentoring the Next Generation."
  • 4. Role of a Mentor
    • Students seeking professional connections will choose contacts who they respect for their knowledge and experience. Through this relationship, the mentor shares wisdom and know-how to foster growth and development of the mentee. Often this is a supervisor, instructor or other professional leader who the mentee may be acquainted, but sometimes a mentor can be someone who is not known to the mentee. 
    • Mentors may not be the most senior person in their the fields; the right mentor matches up with what knowledge and experiences the mentee hopes to gain. 
  • 5. Not Sure Who to Ask?
    • "If you don't have an idea about who to ask to be your mentor, find organizations that work in the area you're interested in and look to their leaders.  Asking to do something as simple as getting a coffee together can be very successful," Williams said. 
    • Another strategy to develop a mentor relationship is to work on a project that is of mutual interest.  "Choose something that supports your potential mentor's work and ask for some help putting it together," Williams suggested. "This way, you are both invested in completing a goal together that can lead to a deeper relationship during the process."
  • 6. Qualities of a Good Mentor
    • 1. Willingness to share skills, knowledge, and expertise.
    • 2. Demonstrates a positive attitude and acts as a role model.
    • 3. Takes a personal interest in the mentoring relationship.
    • 4. Exhibits enthusiasm in the field.
    • 5. Values ongoing learning and growth in the field.
    • 6. Provides guidance and constructive feedback.
    • 7. Respected by colleagues and employees in all levels of the organization.
    • 8. Sets and meets ongoing personal and professional goals.
    • 9. Values the opinions and initiatives of others.
    • 10. Motivates others by setting a good example.
    • By Penny Loretto, About.com
  • 7. Giving Back to the Mentor
    • As the relationship develops, mentees should make an effort to share their successes and assure that mentors know how valued their time and insights were to these accomplishments. 
    • “ Finding a Guide: The Value of Having a Professional Mentor,” Dana Hagenbuch, Commongood Careers