Let’s face it – trying to figure out how to land your dream job, excuse me, your first job – oh wait, let’s back up a little bit – your first internship can be terrifying (yes, exhilarating), but terrifying. No matter where you land on the “experience level spectrum,” There are times when you might just need a little help trying to figure out what on Earth to do.
Are you trying to find out where to apply for your first internship? Or, perhaps, you might be trying to strategically maneuver your way forward in your career. Both situations require some assistance, a guide, if you will. What kind of guide? …A mentor.
A mentor can quite honestly be anyone. Of course, you probably want some guidance from someone with more experience than you (we don’t need the blind leading the blind here…). But, generally speaking, a mentor is someone who you find successful, in regard to your own standards, and is willing to be there for you through the good and bad of your professional career and, sometimes, even your personal career as well.
You Will ALWAYS Need a Mentor
When beginning a college career, a mentor might be an upperclassman who can help you better understand what kind of coursework you need to take and how to start building your resume to land your first internship.
As an upperclassman in college, a mentor might be a recent graduate who just landed their first job (yay) or even a professional who wants to help you blossom into the super rad professional that they know you are capable of becoming.
After graduating from college, a mentor might be a colleague, a boss, or even someone you meet at a conference.
Despite where you meet your mentor or who he or she might be, they should be someone who you are inspired by and someone who can be a reliant source of comfort to you when you feel a little lost in your professional life. They will cheer you on when you need it most.
Not Just a Mentor, but a Friend
One of the best aspects of finding a great mentor is that, eventually, they are no longer simply a mentor, but a lifelong friend and resource. They will be able to give you advice and you will be able to return the favor.
What once was a relationship filled to the brim with one-sided questions from the mentee, will blossom into a lifelong friendship. Your mentor will learn from your experiences and vice versa. Finding a mentor might just be one of the most important parts of building your professional career!
Sadie Newman is a junior strategic communication major and our VP of External Relations. Chat with her about professional mentors on Twitter @RealSlimmSadie.