(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is brought to you by our friends at Capella University. Capella is an accredited online university dedicated to providing an exceptional, professionally-aligned education that puts you a position to succeed in your field. They offer bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees as well as certificate programs for human resources and business professionals. Enjoy the post!)
Over the past couple of weeks, our Friday posts have been focused on career development. First, we talked about finding time and having a busy professional life. Then, we talked about being ready to ask for opportunities. In this article, I want to talk about having a base of support.
Even when we can get the time and money to pursue learning and education, we can’t do it alone. We need people around us to support our efforts. Whether that’s making dinner while we’re studying for a certification exam or cutting us some slack when we’re tired after a long week of school and work. Support could also come in the form of gently nudging us when we don’t feel like studying (but we know we really need to).
That’s where mentors can come in. Mentors are people who can offer advice and counsel. They can give you tips to be productive and encouragement to stay focused. But not all mentors are the same. And in some situations, it makes sense to choose your mentors for the task at hand.
For example, let’s say you’re attending the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Annual Conference and Expo in Chicago next week. You might want to stop by the Capella University booth at the conference and talk with them about the educational opportunities they’re offering.
If you’re goal is to pursue a degree, then think about the mentors who will help you get there. At this point, don’t think about long-term formal mentoring programs. Instead, see if you can identify individuals who have:
1) Attended Capella and can offer some insights.
2) Received a graduate degree.
3) Worked and attended school at the same time.
4) Recently transitioned into a business or HR role.
You see where I’m going with this. There’s no rule that says you have to limit yourself to one mentor. So, find mentors that can provide value toward all of the goals you’re trying to accomplish. SHRM Annual and Capella University are a great place to start.21