Career search network going well? We’ve all heard the line: “the more people you know, the better.” But finding a mentor is more important in your career search.
What makes a superb mentor? They’re knowledgeable, trusted advisers but not necessarily close friends. They may tell you things about yourself you don’t want to hear. Their comments and advice may be hard to swallow. But their suggestions and ideas are frequently invaluable as you seek employment. In that regard, mentors may become the most helpful individuals you know.
Career Search Network
Did you ever see Dustin Hoffmann in “The Graduate?” This 1967 film epitomized the era and has one of the most classic lines in any movie: A friend of a friend, advising Ben, Hoffman’s character, to “go into plastics.” The script reads like a stockbroker giving insider information to a client.
Sound familiar? Has anyone pushed you into a career or job you disliked? Were they trying to be helpful or were they more like a mentor rather than part of your career search network?
When my sister and I finished college, a lot of our friends and relatives frequently gave us job and career advice. “Brian, you have such a great voice. You should go into radio.” I did. “Laurie,” my sister, “you’re great at teaching things. You should become a school teacher.” She did. While their advice in many cases was good, they weren’t superb mentors.
My dad followed in the footsteps of his father in the newspaper business and became a “stereotyper”–an absolutely horrible name for the job (stereotypers made the lead plates for newspaper pages until “cold type” replaced “hot type” in printing).
His dad, also a stereotyper, was a great person but not a mentor. Like Dustin Hoffman in “The Graduate,” my dad and grandfather lived in a different era when sons followed in the footsteps of their fathers or took advice from relatives. Having a a career search network then was not the “in” thing.
Find a Mentor
Inc. Magazine many years ago published an article about mentoring called “Seven Tips for Finding a Great Mentor.”
- Know yourself
- Be proactive
- Ask for referrals
- Keep an open mind regarding who this person might be
- Identify where you may find a suitable mentor
- Know what you want to achieve from the relationship
- Think about people who have been your mentors in the past
As you consider your career search network, keep in mind that helpful friends and associates, despite how much they care about you, may not give great advice. Instead, find a mentor.
Resource: Find out about LinkedIn and other organizations that can help you develop your career search network.