This blog is written by Tara our Campus Ambassador from the University of Maryland. Do you know what a mentor is? Read on to see what Tara shares with us!
What is a mentor? Who qualifies as a mentor? I know from experience that talking to your dog about life can be comforting, but they don&t give the best advice about careers. As you get more involved in the professional world, it is important to surround yourself with professional people. Recently I was required by a class to find a professional in the field that I am interested in, and make them my mentor. I&m not saying I had to beg or take any forceful action in acquiring this mentor. I simply uploaded a protege profile at PRSA-ncc.org and voila! With the contact information for my new mentor in hand, I sat there thinking, "Why didn&t I do this on my own earlier?" Although PRSA is a great source for finding a mentor-match in the PR field what about the rest of you? There are plenty of ways to find a mentor in your specific field of interest, and one of them is just getting out there and talking to professionals. Don&t be afraid to contact a company you are interested in working at. Professionals aren&t always as intimidating as the seem (most of the time.)
As your mentor, they are there to guide you. They will provide you with information on their field (possibly your future field), career development tips, leadership advice and the answers to any other professional inquires you might have. Mentors give some of the greatest advice because they are basing it on their personal experience. If you are preparing a resume/cover letter, they will tell you exactly what THEY would look for, and perhaps provide you with a few secret tips. Sometimes, having a mentor may make you feel as if you were cheating the system! But don&t worry, it&s totally legal.
One of the main things everybody says is important for interns to do is NETWORK, and they are right. Acquiring a mentor is a way of networking, and may lead to other networking opportunities as well. They are great motivation and can be an enormous help to reaching your own professional goals. Finding a mentor can be a great start to a wonderful relationship, but remember to keep it professional. Mentors are there to help you with professional matter only. Leave the personal questions and comments for your friends....or your pets! What&s even cooler about mentors is you can have more than one of them! They love guiding us as much as we love being guided. Having a mentor may end up being one of the main reasons for your success; don&t waste anymore time, go out at find yourself some mentors!