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Photo: iStock.com/shironosov

It’s generally accepted knowledge, Homies, that you need a mentor to
succeed in today’s workplace.  A study by
Sun Microsystems f
ound that employees who participated in the company’s
mentorship program made more money and moved up quicker in the ranks. So if you
want more money and bigger titles, you’ve got to get a mentor Homies!

“But how do I find this person? How do I include them in my circle?”
Good questions, Homies. Today’s blog post will help you find the answers and
help lead you to your very own career guide.

The first step to finding a mentor is acknowledging you need one. The
next step? It’s below along with four other tips:

1. Who’s in
your contacts?
Often, the person who’s best fit to be a mentor is someone
you already know and share a connection. Carefully review your network. A few
names should immediately jump out at you as candidates. This person may be a
current co-worker, a former colleague, or someone who belongs to the same
professional association as you.

2.  Don’t ask
strangers
. You may have had this experience: someone you’re vaguely
familiar with calls or emails you to ask for a favor. You barely know the
person and aren’t really inclined to help. Asking someone you don’t have an
established connection to can appear similar. It makes you look desperate and
puts the other person in an awkward position. It’s not a good move, Homie.

A mentor is someone whose work
and hustle you admire. They’re killing it in their career and have the
accolades or advancements to back it up. And you’ve been keeping tabs on their
moves – up close. Remember, this person is someone you know and who knows you.

3.  Do your
homework
. Once you’ve got a potential mentor, it’s time to do some
research. Learn as much as you can about this person professionally. Comb their
LinkedIn profile and look for commonalities between you. Also, pay attention to
the projection of their career. How long did they stay in that middle management
job? If they have blog, what are their thoughts on work-related issues? Learning
as much as you can about this person can help you determine if the two of you
would be a good fit in a mentoring relationship.

4.  Meet in
person
. A mentor is someone who serves a special purpose in your career. So
it’s only right that you make them feel special with a personal invitation to
meet for coffee or lunch. Don’t chicken out by discussing something so
important over an email. It screams poor taste and there’s so much that cannot
be conveyed in such a format. Pick up the phone and set up a meeting.

5.   Propose, don’t ask. So you find a
candidate, you study them, invite them to meet with you, and then you don’t ask them to be your mentor? Seems
silly, right? Actually, it makes perfect sense to suggest rather than outright ask someone to mentor you. Here’s why:
Mentoring, when done right, is a time-consuming and intimate process. There’s
lots of interaction, checking-in, phone calls, emails, meet-ups, sharing of
ideas and goals. If you jump right out with the big ask, you might get turned
down because you haven’t given your candidate time to digest your request.

However, telling your candidate
that you’re looking for a mentor and proposing how the two of you can build and
benefit from such a relationship might be the ticket to getting a “yes” because
you’ve presented an idea to them and expressed that you need their help.

Finding a mentor does not have to be an
intimidating process, Homies. At the same time, don’t be careless when choosing
someone for the role. Remember, the right mentor help you move up the ladder.
The wrong person will keep you stagnant on the rungs. Choose wisely and hustle
hard, Homies!