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Your Ultimate Career Cheat Code: Mentors (and Role Models!)

Your Ultimate Career Cheat Code: Mentors (and Role Models!)
They’re not just nice-to-haves; they’re game-changers.


We get asked all the time for our top career tip or best advice for landing a job. Here’s our go-to answer: Find mentors and role models. They’re not just nice-to-haves; they’re game-changers.

Why Are Mentors and Role Models a Big Deal?

  • •  Guidance and Advice: Think of them as your career GPS, offering priceless wisdom on everything from salary negotiations to navigating tricky office politics.
  • •  Networking Opportunities: Building a network from scratch can be a really difficult thing to do. A mentor can fast-track you to key contacts and golden opportunities.
  • •  Personal Growth: Role models aren’t just for kids (except maybe we won’t put a poster of our adult role models above our bed). Who do you look up to? What can you learn from the way they’ve built their career?


So, How Do You Find a Mentor? 

#1 First Up – You Need To Identify Your Needs and Goals

  • •  Which areas do you need help with: What specific areas do you need help with – academic, career, personal growth? Maybe all three!
  • •  Goals: Figure out your short-term and long-term goals. What do you want to achieve with your potential mentor’s help?


#2 Start To Look Within Your Existing Network

  • •  Teachers & Professors: They can guide you academically and career-wise.
  • •  Family & Friends: They might have valuable insights and experiences.
  • •  Peers: Older classmates can be great mentors too (especially because their experiences are not out of date – making it very relevant to yours!).


#3 Utilise Your School Resources

  • •  Academic Advisors/Career Counsellors: If your school has any form of advisory service, it’s a great place to start! They can assist with course selection, career planning, and more.
  • •  Career Services: Many schools connect students with alumni and industry pros – if you’re not sure, ask a teacher if there’s anything that you should look to join!
  • •  Clubs & Organisations: Join clubs related to your interests as soon as you can – quite often, those that you spend time with throughout your school years can become mentors and role models as you move into your professional career.


#4 Get Out There and Start Attending Events and Workshops

  • •  Guest Lectures & Seminars: Engage with industry pros after their talks (and yes, you should always volunteer to ask a question!)
  • •  Career Fairs: Try to attend a few and chat with company reps in your field – you never know where a connection might lead, or how that relationship will build over time.
  • •  Workshops: Participate in workshops that align with your goals, and make sure you talk to others that are joining (and hosting!).


#5 Start To Do More Online Too

  • •  LinkedIn: Create a profile, join groups, and connect with people relevant to your ideal career.
  • •  Social Media: Follow and engage with professionals on X, Instagram, and Facebook (just remember to use common sense in the way you approach people’s personal social media!).

What Should You Be Looking For In A Mentor?

  • •  Experience & Expertise: They should know their stuff in areas where you need guidance (and double-check that they *actually* know their stuff and are not just very good at publicly looking like they do!).
  • •  Good Communication Skills: Effective mentors are transparent and approachable. You don’t want to second-guess every conversation you have with them.
  • •  Value Alignment: We talk a lot about knowing your values in the program – and it’s just as important to know that your values align with your mentors. If they don’t, you could be getting advice that doesn’t match the way you want to do things (which isn’t helpful at all!).
  • •  Inspiration & Motivation: A good mentor/role model is someone you WANT to listen to – and someone who gets you excited about your career. Try to find someone who is going to motivate you to achieve your goals and inspire you with their actions.


Our tip? The best mentors and role models aren’t forced – they’re someone you’ve built a respectful relationship with before asking them for help. A cold LinkedIn message to someone asking them to help you is much less likely to result in a “Yes” than asking someone you’ve had a couple of conversations with.

So You’ve Found A Potential Mentor – How Do You Turn It Into A Great Relationship?

#1 Respect Their Time

  • •  Always Prepare Questions: Have specific topics ready for discussion to make sure if you’ve only got 30 minutes with someone, that 30 minutes is well spent.
  • •  Be On Time: Show up on time and keep meetings within the agreed timeframe!


#2 Show Some Appreciation For Their Help

  • •  Thank You Notes: Send a thank you after meetings to show gratitude (no, we’re not talking about a bunch of flowers – just a simple email or message will do the job!).
  • •  Keep Them Updated: Share your progress. Mentors love knowing their advice is helping, so show them that you’re taking on board what they’re saying and putting it into action!


#3 Be Open to Feedback

Pay attention to their advice without getting defensive. Very rarely is a mentor telling you something with bad intentions – listen, and try to understand *why* they’re telling you something (and if you’re not sure – ask!).


Finding mentors and role models can be one of the best things you’ll do in your career – but remember, building these relationships requires effort, time and putting yourself out there! For more advice on finding a mentor (and a whole lot more!), check out our Future Readiness Program.