Assessing Your Mentor in Responsible Careers

One of the most important success indicators of how well someone is able to secure a responsible career and expand their skills and reputation is how strong their circle of mentors is. Those who have mentors are twice as likely to be promoted and find new work as those who don't, says Ellen Fagenson Eland, professor at George Mason University and winner of the Mentoring Best Practices Award.

There are many types of mentors you need. If you're a minority, you should have a minority mentor. If you are a woman having a child, you should get a mentor who is managing work and kids the way you would like to. If you are a woman, you should have a man so that you learn how to manage yourself male clubs. If you are a man working with a women mentor will give you insights into the feminine leadership models. The greater your range of both what you need and what would help fill in educational gaps will provide the needed structure for additional success. As we move through life we also need different mentors which reflect our growing skills and professional goals.

Here are some ways to use your social-networking savvy to land the mentors you need right now:

1. Leverage your Justmeans profile to connect and engage with people.
You can use Twitter to identify someone who would be a good mentor for you. But you need to get their attention right away with a link to something that gives a snapshot of why you are interesting and dedicated to a responsible career and what you offer. A blog is a lot to read, and a LinkedIn profile is not going to showcase your ideas. Your Justmeans profile is exactly the type of information that a mentor wants to find out about you before they sign on. Also, one of the reasons that people mentor is to learn from the mentee. If you introduce your mentor to a place like Justmeans you are helping the mentor to stay on top of their game as well. You can also use a system that one of our partners Manpower has developed called MyPath. This on line career resource allows you to find jobs, connect with mentors, and learn from other job seekers.

2. Work with and Leverage Social Media
Choose 3-5 social media sites that you are actively and daily log into and utilize. Generate a profile that is both informative as well as engaging and find ways to provide value to your readers not just market yourself. In the responsible career world find ways to become known and effective in your career path and let others know about you. The beauty of the key social media sites is that you have an automatic and consistent way to stay in touch and in front of those people who you want to. It is recommended that in addition to daily updates and dialogue to design an out reach plan and marketing strategy that builds your personal brand and value over the course of 6 months to one year. Think of yourself as offering something that no one else can and capitalize on it. As you become known you can link with and approach people who you admire who can offer additional information and resources. A mentor is someone who is further along on a path than you are and can provide content and context that is helpful to you. By using your social media savvy skills you will week through the groups and people who may not be helpful and focus in on the areas that are.

3. Ask good questions & Listen.
The best way to stand out is to ask good questions. The Internet makes answers a commodity, and conversations-based networking makes good questions more valuable than ever. Focus on questions as you build your momentum towards your responsible career. Part of being an excellent networker is being a leader too. Once you meet someone, ask questions that are right for them. Encourage them to share something they know a lot about that you are interested in. Then demonstrate how that is helpful to you and begin a dialogue. Self learners are the best type of people to mentor because they end up teaching the mentor as much as they learn from the mentor. Social networks that focus on conversation position you as a good potential mentee.

Be consistent and focused. Nearly anyone will help you if you approach them with smart, concise introduction and questions that are engaging and encouraging. As much as you are looking for a mentor others are looking for you! As you build relationships like this you create a context for responsible careers that furthers each of you.. You get only better at asking for a mentor by doing it. As you clarify your goals and direction the resources available to you on Justmeans, social media and by doing informational interviews you will be contribute to your greater success. Finding and being a mentor is like dancing, the more you do it the smoother and more impressive you become.