Mentorship helps with your job search

How to Make the Most Out of Mentorship in Your Job Search

by Lindsay Nielsen

Finding meaningful, stable employment after graduating from university or college can be a challenge. You’ve made a big financial investment in your education. You’ve worked hard to secure your bachelor’s degree, master’s or diploma. Your vision: land a rewarding, well-paying, secure job in an industry you’re passionate about.

If your efforts to find work are met with closed doors, silence or short-term low-skilled employment prospects, it’s natural to feel pessimistic about the labour market. Stress, anxiety and self-doubt often arise.

Mentorship could be the boost you need for your job search and professional development.

Keys to Success When Working with a Career Mentor

When working with a career mentor, it’s helpful to keep some core concepts in mind as you move forward:  

  1. Job-search focus. Identify your job objective. Have a clear idea of what career you’re looking for, and what type of employment you want to target. Consider how you want to focus your time with your mentor. What skills, insights, networks and industry knowledge do you want to gain?
  2. Clear communication. Get clarity on what your mentor can and cannot provide. Ask questions about what lessons your mentor has learned that have shaped him or her professionally and personally. Practice effective listening. If your mentor says something you don’t understand or agree with, make that known respectfully. Ask questions to clarify the message.
  3. Action plan and deadlines. Create an action plan that you refer to regularly. This is a key document to help you assess your progress. Establish measurable, realistic goals and deadlines to keep you on track. A mentor can offer you constructive feedback on your plan and keep you accountable.
  4. Try new things. A mentor can provide advice. However, your own willingness to do things differently is critical to your success. Shy about attending networking events? Then find local industry events and attend them with your mentor or a friend. Don’t perform well in interviews? Then do practice interviews with your mentor and people you trust to provide honest feedback.
  5. Celebrate and share. Celebrate and record your successes – both big and small. A career mentor is one of your support systems in your job search, but be sure to cultivate a solid community of people who support you positively. Reach out to those in your network and get them on your cheering team!

How Can Mentorship Benefit Me?

Mentorship is a relationship where the mentor assists you (the mentee) in development. Career mentors are more experienced professionals who coach, empower and act as reliable sounding boards. They share experiences and knowledge with you to support you in the learning and development of new skills. What better way to learn than directly from a professional who is already in the industry that you are trying to get into?

Many talented and successful individuals have experienced long periods of unemployment. You are not alone. Adversity can cultivate resilience. And resilience is hugely valuable in the workplace and in life.

For free employment programs and all things job search-related, visit our Help for Job Seekers page