Mentoring is a long-term relationship between a more experienced individual (the mentor) who offers career guidance to a less experienced individual (the mentee). A mentor can serve as a sounding board to the mentee, provide insights into the industry or professions of their background, and introduce relevant industry contacts.
How you can benefit from working with a mentor
As a high school student, you can gain insights into an industry and profession from an experienced professional. Consider building a network of diverse mentors—people who hail from a different age group or cultural and professional backgrounds—because a single mentor might not provide all the support you need. Many people find having more than one mentor is productive. Step-ahead mentors might provide better social support for challenges, while more seasoned professionals are better at providing career support.
What is the difference between working with a mentor and a coach?
People often confuse mentoring and coaching. They are different relationships for many purposes. Coaching typically is a short-term relationship between two people. A coach offers solution-based guidance to help strengthen or eliminate specific behaviors. They provide immediate improvement to target areas of personal and professional development of the client. Mentorship is a longer relationship that is mutually beneficial. The mentor offers high-level guidance for the mentee’s long-term growth, and the mentee offers the mentor a platform to hone their mentoring skills in return.
How to find a mentor
The first step to finding a mentor is defining your career direction. This can be a general direction, like careers in healthcare services, digital marketing, web design, or education. Consider your career path and narrow it down, so you can identify your role models within your current friends and family network. Someone who knows you well can give you advice on professions that fit your personality and natural abilities. Instead of asking someone to become your mentor, get to know them and learn about their work, offer to help them as you can. As you develop a relationship, ask your mentor for advice about specific issues.
To get started, consider registering for our free Job Shadow Week. This year it takes place from July 19-22 and will feature live sessions with career professionals.