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How to Find a Mentor That Helps Fast-Track Your Career Success

How to Find a Mentor That Helps Fast-Track Your Career Success

It takes some courage to venture into the employment world and start building a career or maybe a business. Your education will certainly help, as well as your previous experience. However, to truly shine, you will need a guide to show you the way. Sheryl Sandberg[1] says that women who have mentors are more accomplished and have more confidence in the workplace. The same could probably be said for men, too.

Mentorship is important because starting out can be overwhelming and scary. But finding the right mentor doesn’t come so easily. It is not an answer to the yes or no question or luck. Finding a mentor needs hard work, ambition and persistence. Here’s how you can put that to task and find yourself a great mentor.

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Be Clear about What Help You Need from Your Mentor

Before you go looking, sit down and think hard about what you want and need from your mentor. Ask yourself whether you want help with a current project or someone for the long-run who knows the insides and outs of your field.

Perhaps you are starting a clothing line and you want to put your company and brand on the map. Asking a fellow company can be a nice idea but not the best one. What works for them might not be applicable to your brand, market, and what if your finances can’t support that plan? Checking in with a similar brand but from a different branch could be better. Because of the similarities, they will understand you, you will feel closer to them, and some great ideas might be born out of that collaboration.

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With that said, prior to seeking help, know what your end game is. Having some kind of a starting point could lead you in the right direction. Once that is set up, everything else will come into place naturally.

Demonstrate Your Potential to Your Mentor

Approaching someone and saying, “Hey, will you be my mentor?” is not the way to go. This is not a store where you can walk in and ask if they have those jeans in size 12. Acquiring a mentor takes work. Instead of going from person to person asking, why don’t you show them what you can do? Demonstrate your potential. Show them your previous projects, or, if you’ve been following their work, why not show them how you would have done it. Your mentor will want to know what you are capable of. Just saying it is not convincing enough.

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It’s Better to Find Someone You Know to be Your Mentor

Your mentor will not be just any random stranger. It will, and should, be someone you are familiar with. This might mean someone you are working with or an acquaintance. Heck, it might be a person outside of work, or outside of your career field. It can be your neighbour, for all you know. But if that is not the case, if no one on your contact list fits the description, you need to go out and find them. Polish your networking skills and learn how to win someone over.[2]

Contribute Something in Return to Show You’re Not Only a Taker

The relationship you are about to start should be a two-way street. Don’t be selfish and expect not to give anything in return. Actually, by showcasing that you can be beneficial to the potential mentor only increases your chancing of getting one. Not a single person will be willing to work for nothing. Use your skills to help on something they are working on, support them, share your thoughts and opinions. This way they will know that they can count on you and that you are not here just to use their knowledge without giving back.

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Careers can be tough to make, but holding your ground and keeping your ambition should get you through the rough patch. Just think of those you admire — they had to start somewhere, too. Accept that you will have bad moments, but don’t let that drag you down. Stand firmly on your feet, keep your head high and have tenacity — just like those mentors. After all, isn’t that what made them?

Reference

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Milica Mladenovic

Content Writer, Blogger

How to Find a Mentor That Helps Fast-Track Your Career Success

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Last Updated on June 25, 2019

How to Ace an Interview: 10 Tips from a Professional Career Advisor

How to Ace an Interview: 10 Tips from a Professional Career Advisor

Wondering how to ace an interview? In this article, you will learn everything you need to nail your dream job — from resume submission to the end of the interview cycle.

In order to land a job interview, you must start with submitting a great resume. Submitting resumes is generally done by, “apply now”, the way many apply for consideration to a job requisition. Even if not applying the tradition way, let’s say, emailing someone in your network about an opportunity- you will still need a great resume.

So first thing first, work on your resume.

Today in the United States, 98% of organizations use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to extract information from an applicant’s resume to build a digital applicant profile that can be searched, filtered, and/or ranked.[1] So, a resume that is ATS friendly is part one for landing and acing a job interview.

To do this, a resume must have certain formatting and keywords to get the resume through the scan and into the hands of a recruiter. Without a resume that works with and for today’s technology and requirements, an interview can be difficult to land.

Here’s a great DIY Resume Guide (Do it Yourself Resume Guide) to help you craft an ATS and Recruiter friendly resume:[2]

There used to be a time where a job application was enough, today, an ATS friendly resume leads all methods in landing a job interview.

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Now, let’s talk about acing that interview.

A job interview is part 2 of the job application process. An interview is where applicants that have met the minimum requirements are selected to discuss the job opportunity with the employer or hiring manager.

Interviews are generally conducted via telephone, in person, and or applications/technology such as Skype. When the interview is landed, these 10 tips will help you ace the job interview:

1. Going for a Job Opportunity That Speaks to Your Passion

Having a passion for the job/ industry is extremely important. Doing something that aligns with inner passion is important for quality of life.

People that have passion for the job that they are interviewing for generally have better interview experiences. When we talk about what we love, it is seen in our faces, our body language, and heard in our tone. Here’re 10 Reasons Why Following Your Passion Is More Important Than Money.

In short, consideration of talents, discovering the things that make you happy and sad, and what you love losing yourself in.

2. Study the Job Description: Essential Job Functions and Qualification Requirements

Doing this will allow you the opportunity to develop examples of past and present experience that relate to the essential job functions and required qualifications.

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Examples of experience is always a plus for interviewers, painting a full picture goes a long way. Even when not asked for an example, it is always a plus to tie answers to interview questions to examples from your experience.

If there is a portfolio (work samples: images, writing samples, published work, videos, awards, etc.) of work- that’s even better!

3. Research the Company and the Interviewer(s)

Being an employee means entering into a relationship with an employer. In many areas of life, research is done prior to committing; researching a company prior to an interview is no different.

It is important to determine if the company is a good fit and therefore makes it easier to answer “why do you want to work here?” It helps better verbalize how past experience, skills, and values align with the company’s mission, and it shows the interviewer that you are interested in more than just a job.

4. Think Positive and Tap into Confidence

Positivity exudes confidence and both are necessary, so the employers knows that trust can be given.

Thoughts lead to action, therefore, operating from a positive perspective will reveal confidence. The goal of the interview is to land the job offer; employers need to believe that you believe in yourself so that they can believe you. Here are a few tips for positive thinking.

5. Have Copies of the Resume Used to Apply for the Job

It’s always good to be ready for extra interviewers in the room; many interviews today are panel interviews/ multi-person interviews.

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Though a resume was likely submitted with the application, it is always a good idea to come with extra copies in anticipation of the potential need. If there was no resume submission, it is crucial that you provide a copy during the interview; doing this shows the employer preparedness and resolution to challenges.

6. Plan for Behavior Based Interview Questions

Most companies use pre-selected questions, often times having a list of behavior-based questions. Usually these questions start with: “provide an example of”, “tell me about a time when”, and/or “describe a time/situation when”.

Having examples of problems solved and strategies used, initiatives led, contributions to teams and departments, will help ace a job interview. Painting a picture to help employers see skills, qualifications, and experience is extremely important during a job interview.

7. Make a List of Selling Points

It’s important to be proactive about the selling points that you want to make in an interview. This is where a portfolio works great! It is a great idea to make a list of selling points that reaffirms and demonstrates skills, qualifications, and experience.

Consider: awards, programs/ processes launched that led to cost savings and/or profitability, training/education, etc.

8. Showcase a Mixture of Personality and Professionalism

Companies like to make sure that interviewees are a good match for the company culture. Having a good balance of personality and professionalism during a job interview is key.

Personality can be shown when discussing hobbies, community service or extracurricular activities in answers to behavior-based questions, when describing your passion, and when discussing selling points.

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9. Have Your Questions Ready- Interviewing Isn’t One-Sided

Interviews are two-sided, like all relationships (an employee and employer agreement is a type of relationship). Before entering in many relationships, we all have a set of questions that we need answers to, prior to making the decision to commit.

Beyond doing this for self (because asking questions helps reduce doubt and uncertainty), it also shows the employer that there is interest in the company and its future and, shows that you are informed.

Here are a few considerations: “Can you tell me about the team I’ll be working with?”, “Why is this position open?”, and “What qualifications/ skills are important to succeed in this role?” You can also take a look at this guide for more idea: 7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

10. Follow-up with a Thank You Note

Interviewers love gratitude. Sending a “thank you for taking the time to discuss the job opening with me”, is very important to acing an interview.

Interviewers discuss one job opening with many applicants. A thank you note can serve as gratitude and the final chance to showcase selling points. This is also the opportunity to address any concerns that the interviewer may have had in the interview.

Summing It up

Consider a job interview a house. the foundation for acing a job interview is passion. The frame is a resume that lands the interview. The plumbing and electrical are showing up with confidence, providing a list of selling points, having examples of your experience and qualifications, and engaging the interviewer. The roof is showing gratitude with a thank you note.

More Tips About Job Interviews

Featured photo credit: Nik MacMillan via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Jobscan: What is an Applicant Tracking System?
[2] Veronica Castillo: New Job- DIY Resume

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