A mentor is someone you respect and can learn something from. They listen and give you life and work advice. Mentors are usually older than you, and have life and work experience they can share to help you make important decisions.
What a Mentor Can Do for You
A mentor can give you:
- Advice based upon their experience
- Tips for getting ahead
- Information about an industry or job
- Encouragement and support to pursue or create opportunities
- A springboard to bounce ideas off
You don't have to follow the same path as your mentor, but finding out what they did, why they did it and what the results were can help you make informed decisions.
How to Find a Mentor
When asking someone to be your mentor, tell them clearly what you hope to get from the relationship.
Your mentor might be:
- A colleague
- A teacher or lecturer
- Someone you know through friends or family
You can approach people you don't know to be your mentor. Some tertiary instutions offer programs to help you find a mentor.
The most important thing is to find someone who:
- You trust to give you good advice
- Will respect your privacy
- Will listen to you
- Will support and encourage you
Don't choose your boss as a mentor because you may find it difficult to be honest about your feelings. You might not feel comfortable talking with them if you have a complaint about your current work situation. Your boss may also find it hard to handle what you have to say. It's best to find someone neutral who can listen and provide unbiased advice.
A mentor doesn't have to be in the same job or even the same industry as you. You might choose someone who has experience and knowledge of a particular area or skill, such as time management or communication skills.
How to Work with Your Mentor
You can create a formal or informal relationship with your mentor. You should discuss these details with your mentor to make sure they are comfortable with the arrangement.
Organise regular meetings so you and your mentor stay focused on what you are trying to achieve, or just catch up for a coffee from time to time or call for a casual chat.
Links to mentoring advice and programs
Australian Youth Mentoring Network
Find a local mentoring program.
Graduate Careers - Willing and Able Mentoring - for Students with a Disability
The Willing and Able Mentoring (WAM) Program matches tertiary students who have a disability with mentors in leading organisations in the students' field of interest.
Business Enterprise Centres
Find a small business mentor.