Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash
Recently I have been getting into my grind. Finding motivation is daunting with the pandemic, not knowing where life will take you. Add that with being a college senior graduating soon. After you get that diploma, it's all on you to get to that next step. But how do you know what to do next? What should you do? How can you find opportunities?
This is where a mentor comes in. I've had about three mentors. One is pending since I will meet my future mentor at a mixer coming up this week. A mentor's job is to guide you since they have been through it already. To help you to find opportunities, give you advice about your current position and the next steps. My recent mentor for a couple of months now is Gaby. I met her through the Boyd Initiative. Which if you are a black college student in media, you should definitely apply! It is a 5 session course that teaches you about the Media Advertising industry. And it's free.
When I finished the course, I was offered an opportunity to get a mentor. Of course I took that chance. I can meet someone new and also gain some more perspective on the media advertising industry through them. So I was connected to Gaby. We meet often to talk about my current internship, she also has helped me with my resume, job research tips, interviewing mocks, and so much more. This has been the most active mentorship I have received. The prior mentorship, she already explained that she has a busy life and that is ok. So I haven't had that fully in depth experience that you may probably receive with a dedicated mentor. I can honestly say that having a mentor is the best decision I have made. We also are very close.
Why a mentor?
A mentor can help you fix the pieces in your growing professional field, whether you are a college student, graduate, media professional, or just dabbing into the field. They know what you will have to face and can navigate you to success. They also have connections into the industry that you will most likely want to meet as well. They are your cheerleaders and your accountability partners. If you take the mentorship seriously, you will gain much more growth than what you started out with.
See that I mentioned taking it seriously? Most things in life, opportunities per se, you need to take seriously. Don't expect for them to do all of the work for you. It is a joint effort on both parties. Bring in your skills, your prior work experience or even if you don't have that, bring in your time, your humility. Let them know that you are willing to put in the effort. Sometimes that is all a mentor needs from you. To be all in. How aggravating it will be if they took the time out of their day to help you, and you are not engaged or even taking their advice that is solid? That is disrespectful to them and also will give you a bad impression to a person in your industry.
How can I find a mentor?
There are many ways to find one. Either through Black Girls In Media FB Group, they are putting together mentors for our members. Or other FB Groups, LinkedIn groups. LinkedIn is a great place to connect with others in your industry, With a connection you can ask if they are willing to mentor you. These can be people you are inspired from. A quick ask for a coffee chat can bring you a solid mentor with experience in what you want to do. Networking sessions can bring you a mentor as well. Go to events and be involved in conversations that can push you into many doors.
Do you have a mentor? How has your experience been with a mentor?