“What is a mentor?”
A mentor is someone who has experienced and attained a goal that you are currently pursuing. A mentor is usually an expert in a specific field.
“Why should I care about finding one?”
There are a plethora of positive impacts of getting a mentor, especially early in college as you begin to develop skills that will rocket launch your career. Not only will it help you become employable, but it will help you gain confidence and a greater awareness of the job field you are pursuing. Finding a mentor can also help eliminate confusion when pursuing a goal, like finding an internship in college or landing a job after graduating.
According to Forbes, mentors and mentees were 20% more likely to get a raise versus the people who did not participate in the mentorship program. That’s right, mentorships are beneficial for both parties involved! So let’s get into 4 ways you can find a mentor while in college.
1. At School
Whether you live on campus, within walking distance, or just spend most of your time on campus, it is the best and easiest place to find a mentor.
Reaching out to an academic counselor, asking to speak to a trusted professor, or to your school's department head of your major are all extremely helpful and easy ways to find a mentor.
Speaking to an academic counselor should be fairly easy. Look at your school's website and see what counseling services they offer and book an appointment. Every university has academic counselors ready to help you achieve your degree and career goals. They could potentially get you in contact with people that are willing to mentor you and help you sign up for a club that will connect you with the right person!
Reaching out to a trusted professor is a fairly easy thing to do while in classes, especially if they have office hours. You can make an appointment with them, tell them what your hopes, dreams, and goals are, and see if they are willing or know someone that can help guide you on your college degree and career journey.
Department heads can be harder to get ahold of, but their email address should be on the universities website. Start by emailing them and asking them to meet in person or online. If they are too busy and do not reach out, you can always ask a professor if they can help get you connected to someone in the department. For example, if you are an English major looking to get into content writing, you could reach out to the Business Marketing department head or reach out to an English professor and ask if they can get you in contact with someone who has experience in the position you are aspiring to.
You will find mounds of information online and on social media to find a mentor such as on Google, Facebook groups, Reddit, and especially LinkedIn. Here are a few great online communities that may help you find a mentor:
Mentoring.org – Here you will find a website that can get you connect with someone for free! All you have to do is fill out your information, browse different options such as online or in-person opportunities based on your preference. The best way to describe Mentoring.org is a search engine for non-profit mentorship opportunities. According to Charity Navigator, mentoring.org has a 3 star rating with 89% of Accountability and Finance.
LinkedIn – Here you will be able to network with people, reach out to them, and add them based on their business experience. You will have access to a large network of professionals that you can connect and chat online with.
Create a LinkedIn profile if you have not made one yet and reach out to people on there. Once you are on LinkedIn, connect with people in positions that you are aspiring to be in, companies you want to work for, or even alumni from your school with the same major as yourself, and ask them if they would be willing to have a conversation with you.
LinkedIn also has a learning feature that people share with their network after they have finished a course. You could always check out learning courses like Becoming an Inspiring Mentor or How to Be a Good Mentee and Mentor and reach out to people who have taken this course that align with your career goals.
3. Local Events
Going to local events is a great way to find a mentor. Maybe you don’t have a car, but there are trains, buses, Uber/Lyft, and classmates that can all help you get to events and or attend a remote event.
Once my professor sent my classmates and I to a slam poetry event. We all stuffed into a car and drove to the event together. There we met so many different people that were all from the same background, the same majors, and some who just enjoy writing poetry. At this event we were able to connect with people and reach out to them.
Most schools host job fairs and have different clubs where you can meet people in the same field of work you are wanting to get into. Job fairs consist of booths of different people in businesses you may be interested in. Clubs that are local near you may focus on a skillset or in the same business you are trying to get into. Both of these events or volunteering events are awesome ways to meet people and find a mentor.
It might feel weird to step out of your comfort zone, but don’t be afraid to reach out to people there, ask what they do, have done, and connect with them. Finding a mentor authentically at an event is a great way to make a connection, network, and find a mentor.
Also, remote events can be found on social media/online. Be sure to be active online so you can follow businesses/corporations hosting different online events such as: webinars, virtual conferences, trade events, and job fairs. Joining groups on LinkedIn and following companies that you’re interested in working for will help you find online events. When you go to these events, reach out to people and ask questions, you never know what opportunities may arise when you participate in these events– especially finding a mentor.
As long as you are active in finding events at your school and online you will be one step closer to making a connection and hopefully meeting a mentor.
4. Paid websites
If all else fails, there are paid mentorship websites you can check out. It is possible to go online and find a few websites that can get you in touch with people professionally, here are a couple examples:
The easiest website we found for paid mentoring is Mentor Cruise. On this website, you can find all different types of mentors, browse for a mentor, book a session with a potential mentor, and become a mentee. If you feel skeptical about starting you can always try their 7 day free trial, set up a 30 minute call with someone they match you up with based on your goals, and then decide if it is the right fit for you. They have positive ratings on Trust Pilot and are proactive in helping those who have poor experiences.
Another website you can take a look at is called Clarity. Here you can find people with business experience in a specific field to help mentor you. Each expert has a rating for their conversation with them and their price per minute. They have a 98% positive rating for calls with experts on their platform.
We suggest doing your research before you attempt to purchase anything regarding finding a mentor. The easiest way to find a mentor is always through organic and authentic meetings so if this is your last resort to find a mentor then have at it!
If you’re looking for mentorship a great place to also start is by applying for an internship. Making connections with a boss or other coworkers that are open to helping you advance in your career is all around you. Download thePathMatch app to find an internship that could lead you to find a potential mentor!