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MY POINT OF VIEW

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Don't Underestimate the Value of Mentorship

By Adriel McMahan, Jeff Winton Associates Consultant

I will never forget walking into my first internship feeling like a fish out of water. As a student, there was comfort in the stream of friendly faces and familiar projects that characterized my university experience. This sudden change was unsettling.

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Stepping into the business world is difficult for most young adults, but I found that mentorship helped ease my transition. Here are some tips that helped me on my journey to find a mentor:  

 

  1. Networking is key. Professors stress the importance of networking, but this good advice is often disregarded. You’ll find the best mentors for your personal journey by expanding your network. The easiest way to do this is by joining associations (e.g., the Public Relations Society of America) and attending professional events. 
     

  2. Mentoring is a two-way street. Mentorship is about forming a relationship, and it shouldn’t be one sided. There are skills you bring to the table coming out of an academic environment that your mentor might not have, such as an understanding of the newest technology and social media trends. Be accessible to help them if needed. 
     

  3. You’re not a burden. Young professionals are often afraid to bother their mentor with questions or request advice. Your mentor is there to help you! Don’t be afraid to reach out and get the guidance you need. 

 

Bottom line–build relationships, ask questions and stay connected with mentors who encourage you to excel in your career. The opportunity is yours. What you do with it is up to you!