One of the best pieces of college graduation advice I received before I actually graduated was to find a mentor. I’ve mentioned it time and time again how important a mentor has been to my personal and professional growth. I’m so passionate about it that it probably tops my list of the top 5 things I always tell graduating college seniors. Here’s exactly how to find one:
How to Find a Mentor in College Tip #1: Look to Professors and Graduate Students
If you took advantage of TA, research, or office hour opportunities in college, I highly recommend looking to professors, graduate students, or university leaders you trusted and made time to interact with. Many of them have student connections that might be helpful for you and have their own work experience.
Before you leave school, let them know you’re interested in keeping in touch. Before you go asking for their personal contact information, make a point to ask about a good cadence to chat. Put yourselves in their shoes and be considerate of their time.
How to Find a Mentor Tip #2: Find Internship Managers & Browse LinkedIn
If you had the opportunity to intern in college, I also recommend reaching out to former managers or employees. Before you develop a mentor/mentee relationship, consider using LinkedIn to do your research. Many employees who are passionate about personal development and mentorship will showcase their efforts through organizations, universities, or volunteering efforts. You’ll probably find the best luck with those people!
I’ve personally kept up great relationships with peers and mentors by doing a little research first. Many have helped me through job transitions, freelance work, and salary changes—all things I wouldn’t have been able to easily navigate on my own.
Tip #3: Be a Considerate Mentee
If you’re lucky, most people who love mentorship will offer their time whenever you have questions or concerns in your next steps. Take them up on their offer, but be considerate of their time and resources. Be great at what you do, consider their advice, and ask for a check-in schedule that feels good for the both of you.