Everyone knows how important it is to have a mentor at work, especially when you’re just starting out in an industry. Where would Frodo be without Gandalf? What would Luke have achieved without Yoda? What would the wizarding world even look like if Dumbledore wasn’t watching over Harry?!
A mentor is a must when it comes to navigating the world of work, getting advice and after work debriefs in the pub. But how do you make someone be your mentor? It can seem pretty impossible when you’re on work experience and everyone around you is silent, serious, and typing like there’s no tomorrow.
Take a look below as we round up some fool proof ways to find a mentor in a busy office…
Tactic One: The Tea Run
An oldie, but a goodie. Never underestimate the power of a caffeinated beverage. If someone’s working hard, they’ll never not appreciate an offer of a tea or coffee. When you come back with drinks for your mentor-to-be, strike up a conversation and ask them what they’re working on and if there’s anything you can do to help. Get that job done well and ask if they have any feedback.
Tactic Two: Do your research
Before you start in a new office, put the social media skills that you’ve used a million times before to stalk your ex, their best mate, their aunty and their hairdresser, and do some research on your colleagues. Don’t go liking their Instagram photos from 2013 if you haven’t even met them yet. But do have a look on their LinkedIn and, if they’re a journalist, their Twitter profile. That’s what they’re there for.
Find out a little bit about your mentor-to-be’s role, past experience and education, it could give you some insight into what they’re like or what you’d like to ask them, and you might even discover that you have something in common.
Tactic Three: Ask for five minutes of someone’s time
They might not admit it, but everybody loves to talk about themself from time to time. If there’s someone you’d like to mentor you, approach them and ask if you can set up a quick chat. Prep some questions so you’re not sat there awkwardly wasting their time, and take the opportunity to ask for advice, opinions, feedback and their email address, so you can get in touch in the future.
Tactic Four: Approach More Junior Team Members
When looking for a mentor, try to buddy up with more junior members of the team. It’s likely that they’ll have more time to talk and less scary upcoming deadlines and tasks on their to-do list. Plus, they probably remember exactly what it’s like to be in your position, and will have more up-to-date advice on how to go about turning your work experience into a full time job, and what the application process looked like for them.
Tactic Five: Hangout in the kitchen
Or in the canteen, the sofas, or any neutral space. People are more likely to chat when they’re away from their desks, so make sure you’re making small talk. This is also the perfect way to meet people from the other sides and areas of the office that you might not encounter otherwise, so have a chat to people from other departments and widen your network. You can never have too many mentors.
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