Having a mentor can be one of the most beneficial things you can do for your career. They have already been through what you are going through right now so why not have them help you out? They can offer advice and give contacts, and many other things that you might not have in your budding career. Since I am a woman in the engineering and construction industry, I think that it is all the more important. It’s hard being a woman in construction. Construction is usually for the “good ol’ boys” so being a woman in this industry can sometimes be tough. It’s important to find other women who have broken through and made a name for themselves. I can think of a few women in my community who are exceptional examples. Here are 5 reasons of why having a mentor is important for your career.
- Knowledge. You want to find someone who wants to share their knowledge with you. They know the industry, they know what is needed to be successful and this is so important. Surround yourself with people that want to share their knowledge with you and build you up. You can read books all you want but until you learn from someone who actually knows what they are talking about, you are going to find that you really don’t know all that much. Knowledge comes from experience, always remember that.
- Respect. Hopefully you find a mentor that is well respected in the community. By being associated with them it becomes a lot easier for you to build respect for yourself. Since they respect your mentor, they should more easily give you their respect as well. But you also have to show your respect. Respect is given not earned. You are the new kid on the block so you need to work on earning people’s respect. It isn’t given freely and certainly not in a day.
- Contacts. This one isn’t necessary but it is helpful. Having a mentor with contacts can make your life a lot easier. I have found that knowing people makes finding a job a whole lot easier. Unfortunately sometimes its not what you know but who you know. Making contacts is important and having a mentor to introduce you makes it ten times easier.
- Perspective. Mentors have perspective that comes with their experience. You don’t know everything (as much as you wish you did), but they know a little more than you so listen to what they have to say and take it to heart. Perspective only comes from experience, which you probably don’t have too much of so be open to new ideas.
- Development. I believe that development comes from learning from mistakes. You could probably save a lot of time and heartache by learning from someone else’s mistakes. Now this is a lot easier said than done, I know. But there are some mistakes that won’t damage your career and there are some that will. Just make sure that you take your mentor’s advice and let them help you grow and develop, while ensuring that each time you fall you will be able to get back up again.
I encourage you to go out and find a mentor that can make a difference in your life.