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While often thought of as mostly valuable at the start of your career or when deciding what you want to do with your career, a career mentor can add significant value right throughout your career. A career mentor can guide and support you to achieve your career goals – whether you’re just starting out or further down the track.
At the beginning of your career, it’s certainly a great idea to find a mentor to help you navigate through these formative years. In addition, the stress of changing careers later on, or the complacency that some people feel after being in the same role for several years, can also be a great time to engage a career mentor.
Learning from someone who has been successful in your field of interest helps improve your confidence and will often provide you with some great strategies to deal with the challenges you might face along the way. So what are the primary benefits?
1. Learning from Real Life Experience: A career mentor will provide you with valuable advice and insight into their own personal journey in the field that you have chosen. They can help you identify skills and expertise you need to develop further – and either teach you or advise you on how best to gain what you need.
2. Connections: In addition to insight from your mentor’s personal experiences, you could also benefit from their vast network of connections. If your mentor doesn’t have experience with a particular problem you are facing, they will most likely be able to talk with someone who has.
3.Advance Your Career: A mentor helps you stay focused on your career and improve your skills, networks, self-confidence, and ultimate success along the path in developing your career.
My objective was to conceive a full-fledged mentoring plan. I wanted this process to be generic and reusable. At the same time, it would not have to interfere with my other work commitments. As a first step, I drew a list of projects that I was or had been working on recently as these would most likely make up the new hire’s work background for a while. For each of them, I noted down the main concepts she would have to retain, as a sort of Acceptance Criteria.
I did the same with tools and techniques, and these were especially focused on the Agile software development process.
Getting to know the main stakeholders, teams, and their responsibilities was to be also part of our mentoring activities. These would give the new hire a sort of system view of our company, especially of the technology platform.
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