Most college students view their career path as a simplified four step process; go to college, get an internship, get your degree, and finally get a job and start your career. Of course we all know there are many more things that go into creating your career path, but these are the four major milestones most people think of. This model may work for some people, but I think it is lacking something, and that something is guidance. It is always a lot easier to do something when you have guidance with someone there to help you, and creating your career path is no different. This is where the missing fifth milestone comes into play on your career path, finding a mentor.
I think finding a mentor is always in the back of students’ minds, but they either don’t have the time or feel the necessity to actually find a mentor. However, I think every student should take the time to find a mentor because they are an invaluable resource. They can give you guidance and support along your career path, because they have been through the same thing themselves, or something similar. They can also be a great networking resource when it comes time for you to find an internship or a job. It is also worth noting that it is never too late or too early to start looking for a mentor. Mentors are great to have whether you are just starting out on your career path, or you are a seasoned veteran. No matter where you are on your career path, it is always good to have someone there to help give you guidance and support.
I do practice what I preach and have had a mentor for about a year and a half now. I met him through College Connection, which is sponsored by Fuse Duluth, a mentor program created by the Duluth Chamber of Commerce. I have regular meetings with him about once a month when we talk about my career path, along with anything else that pops into our heads (last time we talked about how we both enjoy snowboarding). He has helped me make decisions about my major, graduate school, and he even helped me get an internship for this semester. So he has provided me with a lot of guidance and has helped me out a lot. I plan on continuing to keep in contact with him even after I graduate from college.
So where do you find a mentor?
The first place I would suggest would be the Fuse Duluth website www.fuseduluth.com However, keep in mind that this program is only for the Duluth area and has a limited number of spots. I believe all the spots are taken for this year already, but it is something to keep in mind for next year. You can also use your networking skills and LinkedIn to help you find a mentor. Reach out to people you know and ask if they, or someone they know, would be interested in being your mentor. Finally, you can try reaching out to companies that you might want to work for and see if anyone there would be interested in being your mentor. This would be a great way to get your foot in the door!
If you are in a community other than Duluth, see if your local Chamber of Commerce or Young Professionals group sponsors a similar mentoring program.
If you are still having trouble finding a mentor don’t give up and forget about it, remember mentors are a great resource and one of the five major milestones on your career path. Instead, come into Career & Internship Services! We can give you more resources and help you find that mentor you have always wanted!