Why You Should Have a Career Mentor

By Lavender Syanda, Digital Marketer and Career Peer Advisor

If you are looking to progress in your career, you may need to consider getting a mentor. Here are some benefits of having a career mentor.

So who is a career mentor exactly?
This is someone who has been working in the field you are interested in entering and growing in. A mentor can help you make the right career decisions and help you stay focused on your career goals.

Please note that it is not your mentor’s job to tell you what to do. They can only give you advice from the wisdom they have acquired then it is up to you to decide what to do.

With that said, why should you have one? Here is why:
1. Networking
This one should go without saying. One of the most important reasons to have a career mentor is to have someone to help you unlock some doors that would not ordinarily open for you. A career mentor can avail opportunities that you would otherwise have never been privy to. A mentor is also privy to jobs and other professional development opportunities you are unaware of but could be suited for you.

2. Industry Knowledge
Career mentors also help you acclimate to the industry culture. They can help you know the ins and outs of the industry. Most of which isn’t public information and that most newbies have to learn the hard way. Why suffer when you don’t have to?

3. Encouragement/motivation
There will come a time when your 9-5 grows stale and this happens for almost every professional. When you are looking at another career path and the grass looks greener, queue in your career mentor.

They will remind you of your career goals and offer advice to put you on the right track. Many people take a career leap into a net that simply isn’t there. Your mentor will protect you from career suicide, keeping you focused and motivated.

4. Sounding Board
Career mentors make great sounding boards, they act as a great non-biased voice that will help you know whether your idea is good or not. They also provide you with constructive criticism as they have been in the industry longer and can provide you with a fresh perspective and show you an easier way to go about things.

5. Challenge and growth
Your mentor will keep reminding you of your goals and challenge you to keep pushing yourself because no growth happens in the comfort zone. Having someone constantly pushing you will help you achieve your career goals sometimes faster than you had projected.

6. Trials and Tribulations
This is another inevitable hurdle awaiting almost all professionals; work politics. Having a mentor during certain work scenarios can help you stay sane and focused. Scenarios such as being overlooked for promotions, power plays, and other workplace shenanigans.

You will need someone to help you remain rational during such situations and remind you that merit trumps workplace politics. A mentor’s advice will help you stay the course, difficult as it may be at the time. This is very important because they will also tell you when it is time to walk away.

Truth be told some people do just fine without mentors, and they get through the workplace however, why take the hardest terrain? It simply isn’t necessary, if there is an easier, better way then you should take it.

PACS has multiple mentorship programs, they run every semester. If interested please write to us at careeroffice@usiu.ac.ke, we shall be more than happy to match you with the perfect mentor for you.

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