Before the holidays, a young PR/Marketing professional contacted me about helping him with his resume. I reviewed both his cover letter and resume carefully and gave him some initial feedback. He was thrilled with the comments and immediately incorporated my suggestions. One conversation led to another and the next thing I knew he asked me a very interesting question: Would you be my mentor to help me in my job search. I had never thought about a job search mentor before. I’ve always said, “Find a really good mentor to help you to grow in your professional career.” I think this is a great idea and I said, “Yes, I’d be happy to help you.”
I found his approach interesting, honest and refreshing. He wrote in his email:
“In regards to the job, right now I am finding it difficult to stay on track because I have no one to report to. I am responsible for job searching, motivating myself, picking myself up when I have a bad job search day, as well as working at least 12 hours …. I was wondering if I could send you a report of what I did for the week in regards to the job search this way I know I have to show someone exactly what I did. If you had time and could give me a little feedback or ideas of other things I could do, that would be great also.”
Starting next week, my young professional friend will begin setting weekly job search goals including: How many networking events and Twitter chat sessions he attends, how many resumes he sends out, the number of professionals he speaks to on the phone or visits in person (i.e., the informal interview for knowledge on the PR profession), how many resources he’s scoured to find a job, etc. Then, at the end of the week he will submit a report that reviews his goals and how much was actually accomplished. We’ll chat once a week to review the report, but also discuss any of his challenges, if he has questions about anything he’s learned during his job search, and how to take his efforts to the next level the following week.
What’s great about the idea of the job mentor is that it comes at a critical point in the student or professional’s career. Whether you are just out of school and trying to find your way or you’ve been in PR and you are looking for a new and exciting opportunity, having a mentor is an excellent way to keep you focused and proactive, at a time when you need energy and motivation the most. And, if the job search mentor relationship works out well, there’s the potential for the relationship to expand into a full time mentor, as you learn to work together. It will be easy to measure the success of the relationship by evaluating how many goals are accomplished and how much both of you learn during the experience (notice I said both of you because when you mentor, you learn a lot too).
As I prepare for the PRSSA job search chat on January 26th at 9:00 p.m., I will be one week into my new relationship, and hopefully be able to share with the students information on how a job search mentor can help them after graduation, as they search for their first career opportunities. Are you a PR job search mentor and have you ever thought of becoming one?