I need a mentor, where do I start looking?
Everyone knows it’s a good idea to have a mentor, but it’s not nearly as easy to find one! As a young person in high school contemplating your early career, the benefits of building a relationship with someone who can provide professional advice, insight, and connections are well-known. But where can you start looking for a mentor? Here are four best places to start:
- Volunteer in the community
Find your people. Consider volunteering at an organization that has a mission or cause close to your heart. You will likely meet others who share this passion. While bonding over common interests, you can make a meaningful connection to someone who has relevant skills or experience to share with you as you move through high school and look toward a career. Added bonus: spending some of your free time volunteering will reap other benefits as you search for a mentor. You will learn about an industry or service which you might not otherwise be exposed to while in high school, and you will feel the satisfaction of giving back of your time and talents to those in need.
- Reconnect with a former supervisor
Make time for coffee. Just because you’ve left a job or internship, doesn’t mean you should shut the door on your former colleagues or supervisors. Staying in touch with coworkers throughout high school can lead to a valuable relationship in the future. Perhaps they still have important lessons to teach you or introductions they can make to advance your career after you graduate from high school. Start by reaching out to a former colleague and re-connecting over coffee. You may be surprised by the new relationship.
- Look right in your own home
Strengthen family ties. Mentors don’t HAVE to come from outside your family. It may seem like your mentor should be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or an incredibly successful entrepreneur to add value to your future career, but that’s not the case. A mentor should be someone you look up to professionally, but also personally. They should exhibit character and values that you would like to hone. They should help you make good decisions and support you in problem-solving. Often parents and extended family members are exactly these kinds of counselors, and we don’t even know it. Spend some time deliberately talking to an elder in your family and ask some intentional questions; you might just find your next mentor.
- Join a youth development organization
Step outside your comfort zone. Joining an organization in high school that pairs you with a mentor can lead to a lasting impact. Some high schools partner with organizations that offer mentorship opportunities. For example, Genesys Works is a national nonprofit that helps high school students explore their career options through a paid internship. Part of your experience includes working with a supervisor at a corporate office. These supervisors serve as mentors for each student throughout the year, offering advice and on-the-job training.
It’s a great idea to start looking for a mentor in high school, but the task can seem daunting. If you try these four best places, you are bound to increase your chances. The most important part is to take the first step! To learn more about Genesys Works, visit here: https://genesysworks.org/for-students/why-join/
Find out if your school partners with Genesys Works: https://genesysworks.org/for-schools/participating-high-schools/
About Genesys Works
Genesys Works provides pathways to career success for high school students in underserved communities through skills training, meaningful work experiences, and impactful relationships. Our program consists of 8 weeks of technical and professional skills training, a paid year-long corporate internship, college and career coaching, and alumni support to and through college. Our goal is to move more students out of poverty and into professional careers, creating a more productive and diverse workforce in the process. Since its founding in 2002, Genesys Works has grown to serve nearly 4,000 students annually in Houston, Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Washington’s National Capital Region. To learn more, visit genesysworks.org.