It’s hard to believe that even people who are well established in their careers started out in the same position as you. A mentor is an established professional who can give you informed advice, practical skills, and networking connections within your selected field. They can guide you and help to find solutions to problems that you may face in everyday situations in your career. Mentors contain a wealth of knowledge that can only be gained from experiencing work. In an internship setting, a mentor is so much more than being an ear to listen to your thoughts – they can curate your internship experience for you depending on your skills and experience, to bring you from zero to hero in preparation for your career.
Interested in knowing more about taking a step to advance your prospects and hireability? Let’s go over some reasons as to how a mentor could be the person who could help you during your internship.
1. You can get perspective of your career trajectory
Perspective. It’s a word that conjures up a lot of thoughts about focusing on what’s happening in the here and now (what you can control) and how you can use this moment to get to your goals in the future. Perspective brings upon the ability to use self-awareness toward growth. A mentor is someone who is already seasoned in their professional life, who may have gone through promotions or may have been given exciting opportunities to further their position. If you have a particular role in mind, like leadership for example, but you understand that it’s not in the immediate future, this sort of perspective can effectively give you the tools to build your ladder to success. If your dream sector is really unique and specific, you might have to get the general skills and knowledge first in order to get there – and that’s perfectly ok! A mentor can give you some pointers in how to make the path you follow the most advantageous one possible.
2. You can network
The saying “Together Everyone Achieves More” is so apt for the modern workforce that focuses on creating a community around work. A mentor can facilitate building a network for you. Networks are made when you are surrounded by supportive professionals who may end up becoming future collaborators or even coworkers. Why is having a robust network so crucial? The truth is, you are more likely to be on the receiving end of opportunities if you are on a first-name basis with others. People are more likely to hire people who can demonstrate their ability to undertake work to a certain standard. This is evident, particularly when employers do reference checks for potential employees in the hiring process. If your referee can vouch for your professionalism and legitimacy, then that makes you a stronger candidate.
A mentor in an internship placement can be your referee when the time comes for you to start putting the feelers out for employment. Mentors can talk about your work ethic, personal attributes and skills, and most importantly, highlight your strengths in a workplace setting. It’s important to believe in your ability, but having a mentor who can validate it is so affirming.
3. You can learn practical skills from your mentor
Think back to your time in the classroom at school or university. You might have learned a lot of knowledge, but putting your knowledge into context is something we all continue to learn every single day – including your mentors. Every situation is different and might require a different approach. Depending on your industry, you could have a wide range of clients or stakeholders to collaborate with, or you might come across more technical problems that only precision and a discerning eye can fix. If you’re in the creative sector, looking for a career in marketing or design, then the projects you’ll undertake throughout your professional life will keep the creative juices flowing.
At the beginning of your career, it’s easy to feel lost amongst the crowd. Mentors are people who are already established in their career and have a wealth of knowledge to dispel to industry newcomers. With great experience comes a lot of perspective to give, as well as all of the insider tips of the trade. A mentor can connect you with a life-changing community to network with. There are more opportunities that can come your way with a mentor. All in all, you really have nothing to lose by enlisting the help and guidance of a mentor during your internship.
If you want to know more about what an internship can give for you, then consider looking through the current vacancies in your area with Premium Graduate Placements, or browse through the blog to get some inspiration for your career.