How to . . . Find a men­tor

Sunday Times - - CAREERS -

THE all-night study­ing be­fore ex­ams might be be­hind you, but as a re­cent graduate you face fresh chal­lenges — find­ing work and then, once you have found your dream job, en­sur­ing that you keep fo­cused on de­vel­op­ing a ful­fill­ing ca­reer.

Wonga Nt­shinga, the se­nior head of pro­grammes: IT at The In­de­pen­dent In­sti­tute of Ed­u­ca­tion, be­lieves that this is an ideal time to find a men­tor.

“Al­though you are prob­a­bly al­ready look­ing through news­pa­pers and on­line ca­reer por­tals search­ing for a job, one of the best things you can do for your­self at this point is to find a men­tor in your in­dus­try,” says Nt­shinga.

When look­ing for a prospec­tive men­tor, grad­u­ates should find some­one se­nior — they may be at ex­ec­u­tive level, a con­sul­tant or teacher, or in mid­dle or up­per man­age­ment or re­search, he says.

There are many ben­e­fits to hav­ing a men­tor, but not all or­gan­i­sa­tions have for­mal men­tor­ship pro­grammes, so you may have to put in the ef­fort to find some­one to “guide and sup­port you through good times and bad”, says Nt­shinga.

Here is some ad­vice on where to find your per­fect men­tor:

Some work-ori­ented in­sti­tu­tions have pro­grammes to help you find a men­tor. If your institution has such a pro­gramme, sign up “so you can take the same re­la­tion­ship through with you to the work­place”;

Most in­dus­tries have pro­fes­sional bod­ies and they will have so­cial net­works, on­line pro­grammes and net­work­ing events at which you can find out more about in­dus­try-spe­cific men­tor­ing pro­grammes; and

Once you get a job, find out from your hu­man re­sources depart­ment about pro­grammes the com­pany runs. You can even in­tro­duce the sub­ject while you are be­ing in­ter­viewed. — Mar­garet Har­ris

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