YGL – The Importance of Mentors

Another great note from our series of cross-posts from Young Government Leaders. If you haven’t joined already, sign up. Check out the original post at:

Throughout your career, regardless of private or public employment, it is important to think about your mentors. Who are your mentors? Do you have mentors? What role are they playing in your career?

Mentors play a vital role shaping and influencing their mentees’ careers. A mentor can help you decide if you are in the right job or position. These individuals can help you decide whether making a career change is the right choice for you. Mentors can make sure that you are making the most of the opportunities available to you in your current position.

Often people think that mentors must lie within their organization or company. This isn’t necessarily true. As a young employee, you should have a variety of mentors. I recommended that you have multiple mentors both within and outside of your organization to help guide you through your career. Here are some people that might be great mentors—

1. Your previous supervisors
2. A professor from your graduate program
3. A higher level employee within your organization that doesn’t directly supervise you
4. A person in your career field or your career field of interest
5. A relative who cares about your advancement
6. A close friend

As you can see, when talking about a mentor it is important not to limit your options. Your potential list of mentors is limitless; just make sure you have variety in your selections. Each person brings a different perspective; ideas about how to handle situations; and suggestions for opportunities that you should experience.

Take some time in the near future to assess your mentor network. If you don’t have at least one mentor, think of a person that could serve that role for you and ask them to serve as your mentor. Don’t be afraid to ask somebody you see as a role model or a coworker. You will never know what they will say until you ask!

Good luck picking a mentor in the next few months. These will truly prove to be an asset for the rest of your career.

Cara Spiro
Professional Development Co-Chair
Young Government Leaders

Photo Published Courtesy of Creative Commons License by Flickr user “Daniel Voyager from TSL”

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Andrew Krzmarzick

Thanks for the article, Cara.

I recently read an article at the blog by Penelope Trunk (author of Brazen Careerist) about mentorship. It sparked me to contact someone that I found on the web – a gentlemen that had experienced a considerable amount of success in his career. I will meet him face-to-face for the first time this weekend. I am enthusiastic about the potential for this mentoring relationship.

One thing that I did was to ask, “How can I help you?” That simple question opened up the conversation to the ways in which the relationship could be mutually beneficial, not just one-sided. He was appreciative of my request and I am already finding ways to bring value to him as well.