Step 10: Find a Mentor

mentor

What is a mentor?

A mentor is someone who currently works in your goal profession. He or she can assist you in your job search through a long term commitment.  A mentor will help you develop a career plan, keep you motivated and offer advice and suggestions. He or she will share their own story regarding their career path, help you develop skills and assess your strengths and weaknesses. Your relationship with a mentor may involve long lunches or time spent job shadowing their work day. Find organizations that have a formal mentoring program in place, or find one on your own by looking for someone you admire and respect.

Why should you find a mentor?

  • A mentor can teach you about the Canadian context of your occupation, workplace culture and how to translate your skill set.
  • A mentor encourages your goals, provides constructive feedback to develop your self-awareness, and challenges you to push your perceived limitations.
  • A mentor is often in a position you would like to be in and has the connections to guide you to a similar position.
  • A valued employee quality is collaboration. Mentorship is one of its ultimate forms.
  • Mentoring during the job search can significantly shorten your search and help you cope with the isolation and frustration of a prolonged search.

How do you choose a mentor?

  • Choose someone working in your goal profession with a lot of experience, as well as someone who shares your values.  You may find it especially helpful to seek out a mentor of the same cultural background so you can identify with their success.
  • Discuss your goals and expectations for the mentoring relationship.
  • Set boundaries relating to confidentiality and time commitments.
  • Be sure to reveal as much about yourself as possible. Mentored relationships benefit when you are open, honest and accountable.
  • Don’t be afraid to receive honest and constructive feedback from your mentor. You will benefit if you can admit mistakes and share failures.
  • Don’t overburden your mentor by demanding too much time and attention or becoming overly dependent.

Where to find a mentor?

Begin your search through a settlement agency or professional association that offers this service. Links for these organizations are found in steps 9 and 4.