As millennials wanting to advance their finance or accounting career it pays to have a mentor. Mentors can be a sounding board for millennials, offer timely advice and help them make the right career choices.
How important is it to have a mentor?
A study by the HR department of Sun Microsystems revealed something intriguing. Those who participated in the mentoring program, (both mentors and mentees), were 20% more likely to get a raise than those who did not participate. In other words, regardless of which side of the mentoring table you sit on, participating in a mentoring relationship is beneficial. And while we know from this study what millennials want in an accounting job, here are some notes on mistakes to avoid when millennials approach a mentor.
Mistake 1: Not Building the Relationship
Before you ask someone to be your mentor do some research. Take a look at their LinkedIn profile to understand what their career path has looked like, then ask for a meeting. Most people will give you 15 minutes of their time. Ask open-ended questions that delve into what it’s like to be in their role. Show interest and engage in active listening. At the end of the conversation inquire if it would be possible to reach out again if you need some guidance. Most people will say yes. You’re on your way now to building a mentoring relationship.
Mistake 2: Staying Internal
Millennials often feel that in order to progress their mentor should be someone who works for their organization. And while this is ideal, it’s not necessarily the case. Reflect carefully on the types of skills and personality attributes you need to grow in yourself. If there is no one suitable within your company it can make sense to look elsewhere, particularly if you already have an existing relationship with this person. They would likely be open to being your mentor.
Mistake 3: Poor Timing
Choose your timing carefully. Pay particular attention to presenting yourself as flexible and open to meeting at any time. You need to show that you are willing to work around their schedule.”
Mistake 4: Making it About You
Don’t ask questions that reveal a lack of research. You want to appear as someone who is informed, but also seeking to broaden their knowledge base. Listen more than speak. Try to add value by volunteering to work on a project or initiative that your mentor is passionate about, or at an event they have invested in. A truly successful mentoring relationship is a two-way street. And don’t forget to express gratitude. Your mentor is giving you their time, so show your appreciation.
Want to learn how to listen actively as part of a powerful communication strategy? Read this blog.
As a millennial wanting to move up in the world of accounting and finance, you truly need a mentor. When you request a meeting show flexibility and respect by working around their schedule. Before you make a formal request for someone to mentor you build the relationship. When you do meet with your mentor don’t make the conversations solely about you. Practice active listening and ask yourself what value you can add to your mentor’s experience. Since a mentor can make such a difference to your career it’s worth nurturing the relationship the right way.
Your Next Step
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