Many of us like the idea of having a mentor—someone whose experience we can draw from and pertinent advice could help shape our careers and lives—but knowing how to cultivate that kind of relationship in an authentic and meaningful way is a whole other ball game.
We asked Tina McIntosh, 2018 Mentor of the Year at the Women in Travel Awards, now an Executive Search Specialist at Perceptor, to share her advice for burgeoning mentees.
Do Your Research
Building genuine relationships takes time, so be patient. If you’ve found a person you admire, start following them on social media or on LinkedIn, for example, and find out what interests them. What do they comment on and what do they write about? Start reading everything they post and start commenting in a thoughtful way. They’ll start to recognize your name. You could potentially reach out then or if they are speaking at a conference, you could introduce yourself and say you follow them on LinkedIn and wanted to come and hear them speak. Then you can organically build a relationship from there.
Reach Out in Your Natural Habitat
If you’re more comfortable emailing or messaging online instead of calling someone, that’s okay. Do what feels most comfortable. Think about what you could offer them.
Be Aware of Your Personal Brand
If you are reaching out to someone via Facebook or Instagram be aware of what your potential mentor might see if they check out your profile. Make sure you’re projecting your best self.
Ask Your Boss to Help Find You a Mentor
If you have a good relationship with your boss, you can ask them to connect you to one of their peers, even in another industry. Be prepared to make a case for yourself – what you’re hoping to learn and how you’re wanting to grow. This will help them think of the right person.