When Kelly Jackson was a 24-year-old public relations manager at the Philadelphia-based marketing firm Allen & Gerritsen (A&G), she asked three top executives at the firm to be her mentors—to answer her questions, offer advice, and help her navigate the workplace.
Three years later, she is an account director at Ogilvy in Chicago, thanks in part to the invaluable lessons imparted by her mentors.
“When you develop a mentor relationship, you gain so much confidence in an array of areas, including the ability to talk with people and ask for their feedback,” Jackson says. “In all these conversations with my mentors, I felt more sure of myself in preparing for a move and figuring out what I wanted next for my career.”
Regardless of where you are in your career—a recent graduate, a new manager, or a seasoned professional—everyone can use a mentor to help guide them. “We know from research that people with mentors get promoted faster, earn a higher salary, and are more satisfied with their careers,” says Wendy Murphy, an associate professor of management at Babson College and author of Strategic Relationships at Work: Creating Your Circle of Mentors, Sponsors, and Peers for Success in Business and Life.
While most professionals agree that having a mentor is beneficial, few people—especially early in their careers—know how to find a mentor and make sure it’s a productive and meaningful relationship.
Here are 10 tips to help you figure out what you’re looking for, identify the right mentor for you, and set yourself up for a successful mentorship.