Three Mentors Every Career Woman Should Have in their Corner

Mentors every career woman should have.

We all need help from time to time and today’s demanding business environment reminds us that no one can achieve business success alone. Between peers, family and friends, there is no shortage of places to turn to for support, but one that is easy to overlook, is a mentor.

Catalyst drew from an online survey conducted in 2008 of more than 4,000 MBA alumni who graduated between 1996 and 2007 from top schools in Asia, Canada, Europe and the United States. They found that mentors have an influence on a person’s career advancement from the first day on the job and continue to have an impact as careers progress.

Interestingly, Catalyst also found that women who had active mentors in 2008 had achieved 27 percent higher salary growth than women without mentors.

Unfortunately, not all companies offer a formal mentorship program and it is not always easy to identify someone both qualified and willing to fill this role. Forbes Woman recently published an article containing three types of mentors that every career woman should have and how you can get them.

Mentor #1: You in One Year

This type of mentor should be able to give you advice on the details of your career such as how to approach a project, which people you should get to know and what it takes to advance. You shouldn’t have to look too far; by socializing and getting to know people in the office, or by attending network and industry events, you will find someone to fulfill this role.

For Ashley White, Jabil’s Lead Communications Coordinator, Jabil was her first “real” job after college graduation. Ashley admits that she had very little experience under her belt, but quickly found her “me in year one” mentor. “Fortunately my cubicle was situated directly next to Jessi Khandjian, the woman who had just been promoted from my current position. I knew that not long ago she had been in my shoes.”

Mentor #2: Your Five-Year Guide

According to Forbes, a “where I want to be in five years” mentor can offer suggestions on how to advance in your company or field and assist you in establishing short-term goals along with a plan as to how to achieve them.

Forbes suggests seeking out this person from the mid- to senior-level managers who are well known and respected within your company. Who is currently in – or has held – your dream role?

Mentors every career woman should have.

“For the first 11 years in the industry, I had taken on many different roles to ensure that I had comprehensive knowledge of our business, each one building on the other and through that I finally decided on a career path that I felt most suited my skills, but most of all one that I loved,” said Avis Mullen, Business Unit Manager in Dublin, Ireland. “I did realize that there were areas of this role that I needed to work at and a previous boss of mine excelled at those ‘strategic’ skills. Over the course of a number of years she helped to provide me with articles to read, challenged me with scenarios to work on and helped me set my long-term goals. She was my ‘where I want to be in five years’ mentor.”

If you are not already acquainted with an individual who is qualified to fill this role, have someone introduce you. Ask this potential mentor to lunch and have questions ready regarding their career path and how they got to where they are.

Mentor #3: Your Career Planner

Finally, Forbes suggests identifying a “what do I want to do with my career” mentor. While this individual should have a significant amount of experience in your industry, they do not necessarily have to work at Jabil. Forbes recommends that this mentor have the credentials to consult you on the big picture – such as exploring other career opportunities. Seek their advance on any major moves that you are considering.

Mentors every career woman should have.“I have a mentor that doesn’t work in Jabil and their position is higher than mine. They know me well – my personality, knowledge, what kind of job is suitable for me, etc. When I am at a crossroads in my career path I consult this person. We have deep conversations regarding the background of the current situation and my concerns. After analyzing the situation together, my mentor encourages me to make the decision based upon my wants,” said Jane Huang, Human Resources Manager at Jabil’s Shanghai, China JTS site.

Depending on where you are in your career, this mentor will most likely change. When you are new to the job market, your favorite college professor may fulfill this role, while down the line it may be a former colleague or manager.

Once more, having multiple mentors in your corner that can advise you, provide you with feedback on how to improve, be a role model and teach you how to navigate through your company to gain access to influential networks is essential to getting ahead. Yet, as Catalyst reports, 67 percent of both men and women found their most helpful mentor on their own. While you might have to seek out these individuals on your own, knowing the characteristics to look for is vital.

2 Responses to Three Mentors Every Career Woman Should Have in their Corner

  1. Saw Hoon says:

    I have been with Jabil more than 10 years. Everybody seems to be my mentor, & nobody seems to be my real mentor too. The reason being is problem may be unique or new which nobody (i known) has specific experience on it. It needs different methodologies, different strategies, different approach in order to resolve it. In another word, there is no single solution/way/approach. Most of times, we need multiple inputs, opinions, solutions from different areas. I am very happy to see Jabil Joules & i hope everybody can share more problems & solutions to help each of us. Bravo…..

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