When you’re looking for a job you’ll need all the help you can get, no matter what level of experience you have. While an insider with the hiring manager’s ear would be a huge advantage, that scenario isn’t too likely. But you will need help from another kind of insider: a mentor.
I know what you’re thinking. How can you find a mentor if you don’t already have a job? That’s the good news. Mentors are everywhere—if you know where to look. Here are the three types of mentors you’ll need:
1. The trusted source
Some of the most powerful mentors you’ll ever have are the ones you’ve already had. Did you ever have your very own Jedi Master Yoda? Of course you did—it was your favorite teacher.
I know you’ve had some amazing instructors along the way that changed the way you looked at learning and at life. And who better to help guide you once again? Teachers have a natural ability to mentor and advise, and trust me, when you’re trying to land a gig, you’ll need all the advice you can get. What better way to thank a great teacher than to ask them for guidance later on in your life as an adult?
2. Older and wiser
It’s easy to fall into the trap of gravitating toward the up-and-coming hotshots, but don’t mistake age for obsolescence. Just because the Internet wasn’t around when your grandparents or parents started their first job, that doesn’t mean that they won’t have advice that’s pertinent to your job search.
Although more seasoned professionals may not be up to date on the latest software trends, they will have decades—yes, decades—of real-life experience and insight that you won’t find anywhere else.
There are some things that just never go out of style when it comes to being professional, and I guarantee if you recruit a trusted family member or friend with a few grey hairs, you’ll be glad you did.
3. A youthful perspective
At the other end of the spectrum, the younger generation has something to offer, too. But I’m not talking about your generation. Think younger. Much younger. You know how sometimes kids say things that aren’t, shall we say, politically correct? Well, that’s exactly what you need to hear when you’re perfecting your interview game.
Friends and family are awesome, but sometimes it’s hard to give honest feedback to someone you care about. But if you ask a five-year-old what she thinks of your interview outfit, or your elevator pitch, you’ll get a brutally honest answer. Yes, you may have to sift through a few references to cartoons or stuffed animals, but after you do, I promise there will be a few nuggets of cold hard truth there you won’t find anywhere else.
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