It is fair to say that most people have career ambitions. Obviously, these ambitions take a different form depending on the person’s values, stage of life, industry, etc. For better or worse, the career path through which one progresses becomes a major part of their identity. So, investing in someone else’s career success is a valuable way that you can change their life.
Outside of the realm of traditional community service, career mentoring is a service with potentially exponential returns. I can say that from personal experience I am very prone to help mentor someone in their career if I am able because other people have done that for me. It has a domino effect. Career mentorship, especially if you have a skill set or expertise in a given area, is a necessary piece of the puzzle that can mean either success or failure for any talented person.
So, how do you do it? It’s actually not that difficult when you break it down. First, you need to identify your own strengths and weaknesses. For example, you can’t help someone edit their resume if you don’t know what a good resume for their industry even looks like. But, if your Linkedin summary makes people want to vote you to be president, then maybe you could help them construct their summary. See? Use what gets you ahead in your job, to get other people ahead in theirs. That is all career mentoring is: using your assets to build someone else’s.
To be a good career mentor, you just need to be available to help. I cannot tell you the number of things I have learned just from mentors making themselves available to me at the right time. Next, you must believe in the person enough to give them your network. As the saying goes “it is not what you know, but who you know”. The most important part of career mentorship is the connection of the protege to people of influence. Do, if you don’t know how to write a Linkedin summary, but your coworker in accounting does, then send an email intro. If you don’t want your protege speaking to your network, there is probably some deeper issue that makes it not a good match. To be a mentor, you need to believe in your protege’s potential outside of your scope of influence.
So, I hope you are able to change the world through helping people get their proverbial foot in the door. And, I hope that you have benefited from people doing that for you