The first step to a new you...becoming a mentor

A 22-year old entering the job market today is facing the Millennial Rush to get a leg up on the world, chasing a yet to be filled dream that at June’s graduation, the Magna Cum Laude and paid guest speaker promised was out there waiting for them.

He or she is a bit confused, sometimes crushed, by the overwhelming prospect that they don’t know who to reach out to or how to begin. Mom and Dad aren’t the right resource, they don’t understand and they have their own biases about what a “good job” gets them - insurance, 401K, stability and upward mobility.

This confusion and frustration is warranted.

They just spent a decade working on getting extra-curricular activities (sports, debate, not-for-profit, volunteering, sorority/fraternities, internships and after-school jobs), and that is after the excellent grades and test scores. Don't forget the camps, a semester living abroad, learning a new language and culture all so that they would have an arm’s length advantage over their best friend in high school.

Yet, through all of this amazing effort, they are missing one thing - a mentor. A mentor is more than someone who tells them how to go out into the world, try new things, connect, fix their Linkedin profile, resume and get informational job interviews.

It’s being a listener. I spend a lot of my time as a mentor/advisor trying to sort out what’s the reality of the dream? What’s the thing that’s going to make them the happiest. Where’s the career when the first career choice fails?

In my little Utopian world, everyone would help the generation before them to become something bigger and better than what they are today. And you’re it. You’re the someone who’s done it before. Someone who knows people that he/she can connect to. 

Here are some ways to start your new role as a mentor:

  1. Reach out to your alma mater (High School, College and Graduate). They all have some form of alumni or mentorship program;

  2. Ask you employer if you can sponsor a new employee. Hopefully your company has a program like this, if not, maybe this will get them to start;

  3. Announce on LinkedIn you’re available for mentorship/advisory;

  4. One of the first steps I take with my mentee is ask them to take the Gallup StrengthsFinder so that I understand what their passions and strengths/weaknesses are. It is usually enlightening to see that how they think and feel has been defined in ways that the world would understand - and then tell them to put it on their linkedin profile/resume;

  5. Check out their resume, see where you can help them with format, descriptions, basic marketability;

  6. Ask them how you can help them and begin a relationship through being a good listener and supportive. 

These are the easy first steps, but often I hear friends say they intend to do this, but never actually get around to it. In 2019, this is the new you, and its your turn to make a difference.

The question is, will you?