75% of executives say a mentor has helped them advance in their career.

A mentor can advise you, answer questions, and help put you on the right track. Mentors can also introduce you to people working in areas you are interested in.

Developing relationships with professors or colleagues from your past is a great way to grow your network and find a mentor.

A student meets her professor for the first time. Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash

Starting The Conversation

Reaching out can be intimidating! But Harvard Business Review suggests you "embrace the uncomfortable feeling" and reach out to a potential mentor.

A person jumping across a gap between two large rocks. The text reads,

Before contacting your potential mentor, do your homework on their background and field. You don't want to come across as unprepared.

In your first email, it's best to remind your former professor or colleague who you are and how you know them, especially if it's been a while since you last talked.

Instead of directly asking them to be your mentor, try to set up a meeting where you can pick their brain about their career path.

Dos And Don'ts

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  • Keep your initial email short, and don't ask for too much of their time.

  • Prepare for your first email and meeting by doing research and coming up with questions.

  • Remember to thank the person after each interaction.

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  • Ask them directly to help you get a job — you don't want to seem as if you're using them.

  • Show up late, check your phone, or act as if you are not valuing this person's time

  • Make any grammatical or spelling mistakes in your emails — proofread!


What is a good sentence to include in your first email to your potential mentor?

Take Action

Having a mentor is valuable!

It's smart to ask a former colleague or professor for help, but only if you do so respectfully and professionally.

Most people are happy to help out — so reach out to a former professor or colleague this week and start building a relationship!

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