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Look to senior executives within your company or well-known leaders within the industry who inspire you. You’ll uncover a number of potential role models by getting involved in relevant professional associations: Step Up Women’s Network (SUWN) or the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW). These groups provide countless professional development and networking opportunities for women of all ages and stages of their careers.
If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, you should check out MicroMentor or WomenUp. From building business plans to raising capital, these groups provide mentorship opportunities to help you become a successful business owner.
Peer mentors can be helpful when you’re joining a new company, but especially beneficial if you’re looking for a job. Approach a fellow job seeker who’s in the same line of work and check in with one another on a weekly basis -- by sharing information, you’re automatically doubling your job-search efforts and resources. Concerned about the competition? It’s unlikely that both of you will have identical goals and be perfect for the exact same job.
If you’re looking to gain management experience before your first management job, flipping the table and mentoring others is a great place to start. Find out if there are opportunities to mentor your organization’s summer interns or approach a more junior colleague and show her the ropes. The perks of mentorships only grow as your careers progress -- should you decide to look for a new opportunity, your former apprentices are great resources for job leads and likely to be enthusiastic advocates.
The Unconventional Teacher
It takes time to find the right person to be your mentor, and even more time to build a meaningful connection with that person. Until you find that person, there are a number of alternative ways you can get advice.
- Pick up a copy of Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In or Cathie Black’s Basic Black.
- Identify groups like the Forté Foundation that focus on developing and inspiring female leaders in the workplace and utilize their resources
- Watch a TED Talk, a session of Levo League’s Office Hours or one of Lean In’s online lectures
Whichever type of mentorship you decide, consider him or her your own personal board of directors. He or she should help you learn and make decisions when it comes to your job search and professional development.
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