Sunday Times

How to . . . Find a mentor


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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