Career Development through Mentorship

With all your energy, time and money dedicated to raising your family, many single parents find it nearly impossible to think about balancing family, career and school. But if you have the exceptional ability to multi-task (without sacrificing your family life too much), you may be able to simultaneously pursue a career or upgrade your education with a little help from an advisor or mentor.

Finding a mentor to guide and to develop your potential may help you quickly define your career goals and get you on the right track as early as possible.

With so many career options and directions, getting advice from someone who is knowledgeable about the area you want to work in will save you time and money. It may take you a few informational interviews and meetings with successful individuals in the various fields of your interest, but you will get closer to finding the right career fit for you.

Knowing your career path before finding a mentor is critical to a successful experience. So be sure to do your research first.

What is a mentor?

A mentor is a trusted coach and role model, who can provide guidance, support, advice, and direction to encourage professional career development and growth to a lesser experienced individual.

What is mentorship?

A career development program whereby an experienced professional and his understudy, create a succession plan to arrive at a professional destination.

When is the best time to enlist the support of a mentor?

  • When the pace of your career development progress is too slow for your liking
  • When you feel you lack the resources to succeed but believe in maximizing your potential
  • When your resume shows a lack of experience or career direction

Under what condition will I thrive in having a mentor?

The degree of success you can expect to achieve under a mentorship program largely depends on you:

  • If you have a well defined career objective or know you desired professional destination
  • If you are dedicated and committed to developing your career
  • If you are open  to receiving constructive criticism
  • If you have respect for your mentor’s opinion, advice and suggestions
  • If you have the passion and drive to succeed
  • If you respect each other’s time and effort

What qualities make a good mentor?

Generally, the best mentors will display the following traits:

  • Commitment and dedication
  • Mutual respect
  • Understanding and appreciation
  • Effective communication skills (listening and verbal)
  • Openness and honesty in sharing experience
  • leadership qualities

Where can I find the right mentor?

It’s generally best to match up with a professional in your desired field but mentors can be found anywhere in your professional and non-professional community:

  • Organizations and professional associations
  • Schools
  • Work
  • Community
  • Friends and friends of family

How do I initiate a mentorship program?

  • Enroll in a professional organization in your field and ask about a mentoring program
  • Contact the mentor with a clear objective and plan of their role in your career advancement
  • Register as a candidate for the Life Network series “Making it Big” for a chance to be mentored
  • Contact your school about the program
  • Find out if mentoring is available through your employment

What can I expect to gain through mentorship?

  • A clearer definition of career direction
  • An achievable succession plan that will allow me to reach my goals within my specified time
  • An opportunity to learn how to explore new opportunities and resources in order to maximize my potential
  • An increase in productivity through guidance and counseling from mentor
  • An accelerated career advancement through shared experiences

Mentoring is a two way street. Often times, mentors will be willing to enter the relationship because it is a rewarding and valuable learning experience for them as well.

So, if you want the best mentoring experience, find the right mentor and respect their time and effort in helping you to develop your career.

Think of this experience as an investment in your career and also an opportunity to build new relationships. Being a single parent is not easy but you’ll be glad that you have a successful career you can be proud of especially when you no longer have kids to take care of.

Chanelle Dupre

Chanelle Dupre is a writer of parenting articles and was a single parent for 20 years to two sons now in their late 20's. She had a column in 3 newspapers and this blog is a curation of old and new stories around the challenges of single parenting and ideas on how to make life easier.

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