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The Benefits of Having a Mentor

 

Question: How can you get an insider’s look into your future career prospects while you’re still a student?

Answer: Get a mentor!

Mentors are experienced people who provide us with insight regarding certain aspects of our lives. Some people have life, family, academic or career mentors. Either way, a mentor is someone who is there to guide you through a new stage of your life.

For all of you students, a career mentor can be the exact thing you need in order to gain some perspective and clarity on what to expect after graduation. Whether you’re planning on going into banking or personal support worker training, every student can benefit from a mentorship. But there is one tiny catch: Mentors don’t generally fall out of the sky so you need to actively look for one them.

 

 

The good thing you can choose anyone as your mentor. Here are just a few types of people or circumstances that make great mentors:

  • Teachers are great starting point because you already have a relationship with them and it will be easu to flow into discussions about career paths and goals.
  • Alumni members from your program and school can be great mentors because your share common academic and career choices.
  • Professional seminars and internships will give you direct exposure to people in the working world, so them out and see if you strike a chord with any of the attendees.
  • Volunteering can be a great way to meet people who have been exposed to a variety of different situations. Even if a fellow volunteer does not have direct experience in a career that you are interested in, perhaps they own path relates to yours (For example,  an every business and non-profit needs office administration diploma or bookkeeping training to work and have professionals in those fields.)
  • Classmates can be just as good of mentors as professional experts. A fellow student may not be far into their career but they may have a different way of thinking than you do, which can help you gain perspective on your field as a whole. For example if you’re a novice programmer and you hit it off well with someone in your IT courses in Toronto, as they advance in their career you can keep in touch with them and exchange ideas along the way.

It goes without saying that you should remain respectful when asking someone to be your mentor. You can bring up the topic by inviting them out for coffee or treating them to lunch to discuss a few things you have on your mind. Most people will feel flattered at the idea of being a mentor, but some may not be able to make the commitment. Proper mentoring requires dedicated time and focus, so don’t take it personally if someone declines your request.  Just get back out there and find your mentor!

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