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Finding a Mentor Early In Your Career

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

In today’s competitive landscape, a mentoring relationship can give you an edge that differentiates you from the pack. A mentor can help to shorten your learning curve, open your mind to new ideas, identify opportunities and advise on how to promote yourself. If you select a mentor early in your career, they can provide invaluable information on how to navigate a company and achieve your goals.

That’s exactly what happened to LaChelle, who works in college recruiting and diversity at UnitedHealth Group. Besides being a jewelry designer, problem solver and lover of engineering and science, she’s also a mentor. And at one time, a mentee herself:

“Mentorship can be a game changer”

Mentorship can be a game changer within ones career. From growing your knowledge in a particular industry to receiving critical feedback on your professional blind spots, having mentors makes a difference. I know it has for me. Early in my career, I had the opportunity to work for a major academic institution. I had very little experience working with deans, department heads, college professors, or employers. However, within three months of starting the position, I had identified several mentors who became my “Board of Directors.” One assisted me with building effective relationships; another taught me how to deliver my ideas for different levels of leadership, and another aided me in writing corporate grants. Their investment allowed me to establish a strong professional brand within the academic and corporate communities while creating a solid foundation in program & student development.

So now you may be asking “How do I find a Mentor?” Start with your department, career services office, or alumni association to see if they have a mentoring program. This is a great way to be a part of a structure program that will match you to someone in your field of study. Don’t forget about your network – family, friends, professors or organizations you belong to can be a good source for finding a mentor. Also be prepared to share your mentoring goals. What do you want to accomplish? Having at least three goals can ensure you have a successful mentorship experience. This is a great start to growing in your career that will lead to your life’s best work.SM

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