Benefits of Being a Mentor: How Lending a Hand Can Help You Land a Job
By Brianna Flavin on 12/04/2014
The term mentorship has been circulating through corporate and academic settings for years. It can be extremely beneficial for beginners to connect with people who have the know-how they need. People like you!
The benefits to the mentee are obvious—someone older and wiser to lend advice and answer questions. What might not be as evident are the benefits of being a mentor, which can be equally significant.
"The most beneficial mentoring relationships are those in which it is a two-way street,” says Jeanna Spence, executive career coach of IndeSPENCEable Coaching. She explains that the mentee benefits from personal and professional growth by receiving knowledge, experience and wisdom. On the other hand, the mentor has an opportunity to revisit valuable tools and lessons that will help them sharpen their skills. Volunteering to be a mentor also highlights your selflessness by offering a valuable service without expecting anything in return.
If you’re considering becoming a mentor, you came to the right place! We enlisted a handful of career experts to identify some of the benefits you’ll receive upon taking on this rewarding responsibility.
4 reasons being a mentor is worth it
There’s no denying your desire to help others find their way—especially when it comes to something as life-changing as earning a degree. But it can be difficult to justify spending your time mentoring while attempting to balance your own studies, career and family. Well, luckily your altruism can actually be strategic move in advancing your career.
Take a look at five benefits of becoming a mentor:
1. Mentoring demonstrates leadership qualities
“Being a mentor showcases the same things to employers that volunteering does; that you’ve taken an interest in your profession by going above and beyond to develop leadership skills,” says Melissa Wagner, a career services advisor at Rasmussen College.
A candidate who can not only learn, but also lead and teach is a strong candidate, according to Wagner. Employers look for demonstrated leadership on a resume for a reason. Leading and helping others requires you to take initiative, adapt to directions and focus on the big picture behind a situation. Mentoring is a great way to highlight your existing abilities in a tangible way on your resume.
2. Mentoring helps you hone your skills
“If you’re not the world’s sharpest orator, being a mentor offers regular opportunities to practice your public speaking skills,” says Joseph Terach, CEO of Resume Deli. He says opportunities to regularly speak about the topics you know best—both formally and informally—provide a perfect forum to develop the confidence needed to communicate effectively and speak authoritatively.
Mentoring is a great way to put your skills and training to use in a noninvasive setting. The one-on-one interaction you have with your mentee can help prepare you for more formal situations like a job interview or performance review.
3. Mentoring broadens your network
Michael Iacona, of Columbia University’s Executive M.S. in Technology Management is living proof of how relationships with mentors can pay off down the road. A student he once mentored made the introduction that led to his current job.
Your mentees will eventually find their place in the working world and they’re going to remember the advice and motivation you provided to them. Those relationships could become valuable, as proven by Iacona. Likewise, mentoring puts you in a position to meet other mentors, which could also pay dividends in the future.
4. Mentoring highlights your altruism
It’s safe to say you care about others or you wouldn’t even be considering becoming a mentor. Guiding someone through difficult choices and being a positive influence in their life excites you. In a world where everyone is trying to get ahead, the leader who lends a hand to someone less qualified is likely to draw positive attention. Plus helping others just plain feels good!
Iacona says seeing the fruits of your labor when it comes to people development is one of the most rewarding benefits of being a mentor. “The ‘paying it forward’ philosophy is such a great way to share your experience and knowledge, and it is very satisfying seeing those you mentor grow,” he adds.
How can you get started?
When it’s all said and done, becoming a mentor doesn’t have to be a large time commitment. This is a relationship where you get to set the parameters.
Wagner advises prospective mentors to check with your college program to see if there is a mentorship system in place. If not, there are other ways to get started.
“Utilize your classes’ discussion forums and lounges,” Wagner says.”Get to know who is in your classes and build relationships there.” If you notice another student is struggling or could use some encouragement, don’t hesitate to reach out to him or her.
Share your knowledge
When it comes to the wisdom necessary to mentor, rest assured—you already have it! A successful student (especially one who is also in the working world) can offer so much to an inexperienced student.
You now know the benefits of being a mentor are just as valuable as the benefits of having one. It’s just a matter taking that first step to get started. This impressive addition to your resume could help you land an interview and hopefully even lead to a job offer.