Five Ways to Help Your Mentor Set You up for Success

Five Ways to Help Your Mentor Set You up for Success

The Scenario

You’ve been on your career path for a few years, but you’re starting to wonder if the next step forward might look different than you thought. You have a goal for where you want your career to go, but right now you’re not quite sure how to get there.

How can a mentor help you find your way?

1. Improve Your Resume.
It always helps to have someone else look at your resume, even better if that someone is a skilled and trusted person like a mentor. A mentor can look at your resume from the perspective of someone in the field and suggest changes like highlighting recent career successes. Whether you’re looking for a new job or a raise, an improved resume helps you know and communicate your worth.

2. Talk about Career Goals.
Cedric Calhoun, Executive Vice President of the National Association of Enrolled Agents, says that the critical piece when working with a mentor is to have a clear goal of what your endgame is. With that clear goal, your mentor can help guide you to achievement of that goal. Are you aiming to be CEO? Talk through with your mentor what path former CEOs have followed to get there. Do you want to be a consultant to your industry one day? See if your mentor has thoughts about the pros and cons of going independent.

3. Think through a Career Plan.

Once you have the goal, you need the plan to get you there. Ask your mentor about how to make the most of where you already are to accomplish your career goals. Chart out the next year and check back in with your mentor along the way to report on the progress you’ve made on your plan.

4. Develop Your Skill Sets. 
You know exactly where you want to go and how you plan to get there. Now, what could keep you from succeeding? Ask your mentor if there are skills you might need to develop. Be open to what they say (they want to see you succeed after all!) and then find out a way to close the gap between the skills you have and the skills you need.

5. Make Introductions.
Your mentor knows what you want to accomplish and what you’re capable of doing. That knowledge can help them connect you with the right people. Value the introductions they make for you and follow up, then report back to your mentor about your interaction.

Corporate Alley Cat Moves
When asking for help from a mentor, remember these five ways they can help:
Improve your resume.
Talk about career goals.
Think through a career plan.
Develop Your Skill Sets.
Make Introductions.

Special thanks to Cedric Calhoun, Executive Vice President of the National Association of Enrolled Agents

Cedric Calhoun is the Executive Vice President of the National Association of Enrolled Agents. A Certified Association Executive (CAE) and Fellow of the American Society of Association Executives (FASAE), Calhoun brings over two decades of experience in executive leadership, membership development, market research and identification, marketing and communications plan development, as well as strategic planning, with both professional societies and trade associations.