Would you swim alone with sharks? Not having a career mentor is exactly that

If you were a child and had severe asthma, and absolutely loved soccer, but found it "too hard" to play a full game, would you give up and just play Fifa 2013 on Xbox? (don't answer that, it's actually really addictive). Honestly, would you think it was impossible to become a professional soccer player with such a terrible respiratory condition? Well, David Beckham didn't. Arguably one of the greatest soccer players in the world, David still has it and has suffered with this since he was a young boy. 

This didn't stop him play 65 games a season for over 20 years winning countless world class trophies under his belt. Bobby Charlton was his mentor. A former English football player, regarded as one of the greatest midfielders of all time and considered the greatest English player of all time.



"Mentoring is a timeless phenomenon that has provided a springboard for career success for many." ~ Legacy and Legacy



In recent times, one can point to not only David Beckham, but Richard Branson, Michael Jackson, Mike Tyson, Roger Federer, Eminem and Nelson Mandela as notable icons, all of whom benefitted from the investment of a mentor.

A career mentor is a person that acts as an adviser, a motivator, a counselor, and a guiding force in your career. This person would have relevant industry experience. A professional whom you can talk openly with and from whom you can expect to receive sound, unbiased career advice.

Traditionally, mentoring is something that you would not purchase and would not require a monetary exchange. The relationship between a mentor and a person being mentored is far higher than what money can buy.



HOW DOES THIS AFFECT MY DESIGN CAREER?

Take a look at these proven positive statistics:

Retention
  • 77% of companies report that mentoring programs were effective in increasing retention
  • Turnover reductions of 20% with mentoring
  • 35% of employees who do not receive regular mentoring look for another job within 12 months

Promotion
  • 75% of executives point to mentoring as playing a key role in their careers
  • 70% of women of colour who had a mentor received a promotion
  • The more mentors a woman had, the faster she moved up the corporate ladder

Productivity
  • Managerial productivity increased by 88% when mentoring was involved, versus only a 24% increase with training alone
  • 95% of mentoring participants said the experience motivated them to do their very best

Personal and Professional Development
  • More than 60% of college and graduate students listed mentoring as a criterion for selecting an employer after graduation
  • 35% of CFOs said the single greatest benefit of working with a mentor was having a confidant and advisor
  • Professionals who have had mentors earn between $5,610 and $22,450 more annually than those who have not



WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF HAVING A CAREER MENTOR?
  • Individual recognition, encouragement, and support 
  • Increased self-esteem and confidence when dealing with professionals 
  • Confidence to challenge oneself to achieve new goals and explore alternatives 
  • A realistic perspective of the workplace 
  • Advice on how to balance work and other responsibilities and set priorities 
  • Knowledge of workplace "do's and don'ts" 
  • Experience in networking
  • Increase technical knowledge 
  • Develop career potential  
  • Develop as a person 



A GOOD CAREER MENTOR IS…
  • Providing relevant industry related perspectives
  • Committed to the mentoring relationship
  • Respectful of individuals and alternate lifestyles
  • Good listeners
  • Non-judgmental
  • Sensitive to another person's struggle
  • Stable and flexible 
  • Honest, patient and trustworthy



SWEET, HOW DO I FIND A GOOD CAREER MENTOR?
  • Define the attributes and characteristics of the designer you want to be 
  • Find experts who are doing what you ultimately want to become
  • Look local and global (it could be your business man Father or the Creative Director of your favourite design studio – find a way to get the conversation going)
  • Use whatever means necessary; phone, email, Google, LinkedIn, behance, twitter, Facebook, anything and everything
  • Once you have made friendly contact explaining you're objectives, If they are interested, discuss what arrangement would work for them. Face-to-face would be ideal, but not a hindrance. It could be a simple conversation once a week over the phone for an agreed amount of time, it could be over email, it could even be over a set Skype meeting
  • Don't limit yourself to one or two mentors, you should have as many as you wish will benefit you. Some mentors will be great for certain areas and others may have a broader offering.



WHAT DO MENTORS GET OUT OF IT?
  • Satisfaction of helping a student reach their academic and professional goals 
  • Recognition at work for participation in a job-related activity 
  • An expanded network of professional colleagues 
  • Recognition for service to the community 
  • Increased self-esteem, self-confidence and affirmation of professional competence 



CONCLUSION:

"Not having a good mentor is costing you dearly. Without their guidance and experience, you are going to have to start at the very beginning and make all the mistakes yourself." ~ Jonny Gibaud

You wouldn't go swimming alone with sharks, so don't do it in the work force. You would do your research first right? 

But no matter how much research you do, you'll soon find out that the best way to do it, is to speak to someone who has done it before. Ideally someone with quality experience and someone who can provide you advice on the best approaches for what you are looking to achieve.




HAVE YOU HAD ANY CAREER MENTORS???
I WOULD LOVE TO KNOW BELOW...




For more, pick up a copy of Ram Castillo's internationally and industry-acclaimed book 'How to Get a Job as a Designer, Guaranteed'.

*Remember to Like/Share my posts on FaceBook, Twitter and subscribe via email to this blog to receive posts regularly. Thank you*

Author: Ram Castillo



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About Ram Castillo

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Ram is an award winning Design Director, Blogger, top ranking Podcaster, Speaker, CreativeLive.com Instructor and Author of two internationally acclaimed books 'How to get a job as a designer, guaranteed' and 'How to get a mentor as a designer, guaranteed'. He's based in Sydney, Australia and in 2012, started the blog GiantThinkers.com which helps thousands of design students and graduates be employed. Ram has since been featured in Communication Arts, HOW magazine, Herman Miller, deFrost*, AIGA.org and Apple.

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