Growing up, we all idolized somebody. Some of my friends idolized professional athletes like Michael Jordan or Shannon Miller. Some people idolized their older siblings or parents. For me, it was Britney Spears. These people, no matter who they were guided us through our teen years and helped shape us into the people we are.
Now, as future professionals, we should find someone to do the same for our careers. I’m talking about a mentor – a professional in the field who can help guide and nurture you as your education and career progresses.
So, how do you find a mentor? It is actually a fairly simple task. You may even already know them, but you may have to look around, too.
Who do you know? Do you have a great relationship with a former internship advisor or professional in the field? Chances are, they’d make a great mentor for you. Try to set up a lunch or coffee meeting with them at least once a month and talk internships, resumes, job hunt, school related concerns, etc.
Alums are great resources! Every PRSSA chapter, and every school, has at least a dozen alumni who would make amazing mentors to you. Connect with your program’s coordinator to see who you could make a connection with or ask your PRSSA alumni coordinator (Here at Eastern, that is the Vice President of Professional Development – me!) to hook you up with someone they think might be a good match.
Network, network, network! Networking is so important. Without networking, you probably won’t get to make the connections you need for a job. Networking is also a great way to find a mentor. Ask a connection you have to introduce them to someone they know who shares the same interests as you – you never know what it may lead to.
As we grow up, different people influence our lives. Whether they are sports starts, pop stars or hometown heroes. Don’t let that stop when you’re a kid – find someone to influence your professional life, too. It is a relationship worth having.