One of the main reasons for seeking mentorship is to help further your career. While it’s likely this will be someone that you work with, it could also be a friend, family member or ex-colleague that you admire because of their achievements. Here are five ways to create a mutually beneficial relationship, so you make the most of mentorship and take the next step in your career.

Find the right mentor

First and foremost, you’ve got to find a mentor that is right for you and who is going to have a positive impact on your career. Is there anyone in your office that you look up to? If so, reach out to them and ask if you can arrange a meeting to discuss their success and get some advice.

Alternatively, you might find that actually, your mentor finds you. This can often be the case if you get on particularly well with a co-worker, or perhaps a senior person is always supporting and encouraging you.

However you find your mentor, just remember, they don’t have to be just like you. Find someone that you admire and that compliments your work ethic and your goals.

Don’t expect to be spoon fed

While your mentor can offer advice, don’t expect them to do all the work for you. They are there to inspire and support you, but you have to be willing to put in the hard work. Don’t rely too heavily on them to get you to the next stage in your career if you want to maintain a relationship based on mutual respect and support. It’s certainly not a one-way street. Ultimately, it’s your life and the decisions lie with you.

Be flexible

While you may have your career goals in mind, remember, these aren’t set in stone. Don’t be afraid to learn something unexpected or stray from the path.

One of the great things about having a mentor is that they have experiences to share. Listen carefully to their suggestions, even if that means trying something new – you never know what you might learn!

Consider what makes them great

While you don’t want to be an exact copy of your mentor, it’s helpful to take some time and consider what makes them so great. Ask them about the qualities that have helped them in their career? What has helped them to succeed?

This way you can begin to adopt some of their successful behaviours, but in your own style. You don’t want to lose what makes you great! However, it can be helpful to learn from them and understand how they’ve made it to where they are today.

Expand your network

Remember, mentorship is a relationship based on mutual trust, respect, and support. So don’t search for a mentor just to get hold of their contacts. However, they are likely to share some of their network with you, which can be a great way to expand your own.

Consider this a bonus of having a mentor, not a sure thing. If you simply approach them looking for contacts, you’re unlikely to find yourself a leader that wants to help you progress.

In summary

Having a mentor can be extremely beneficial to your career and can create long-lasting relationships. But remember that they are not there to carry you through. Listen to their advice, make your own decisions, and put in the hard work!

Our thanks for this post go to our friends at CV-Library, the UK’s leading independent job board, advertising a range of roles, from teaching positions to software development. It also owns an array of other career sites, including Engineering Jobs.