One of the most important aspects of an internship or junior full-time position is access to more senior coworkers who can help guide, or mentor, a new employee through the experience. Whether they’re official or unofficial, mentor relationships shape both the junior and senior employees for the better in a number of ways.
This is a guest post from Gradient Works' first-ever marketing intern - Allie Spratto. Allie is majoring in Corporate Communication and preparing to graduate from college at the end of the year. She'll be sharing her perspective here from time to time throughout the semester.
For the student or junior employee, a mentor can provide many positive benefits, including the following:
One of the greatest things about mentorships is that a student can learn first hand how things operate. Getting hands-on experience in the field they want to be in combined with watching you as their mentor is the ideal learning environment for someone new to the workforce. They also get to put into practice what they’ve learned and continue to develop their skill set as they go.
Learn from their mentor’s experience
Not only is a student able to gain their own experience, they are also able to learn from their mentor’s experiences. This allows for a mentor to reflect on the past and see what they could have done differently, and then provide their mentee with what they learned from it. They are able to learn from past mistakes that you may have made when starting out, and figure out the most efficient ways to fix them. You can also provide them with the things you did right, and give them the tools they need to succeed.
Build their network
Having a network of people in your professional career is an important way to find jobs, acquire personable and knowledgeable skills, or simply connect with people to establish working relationships. Having a mentor is a great way to make that first connection, as they will be able to introduce their student to a larger network. Part of a mentor’s responsibility is to help their student take the first steps into their career. Being a link to a greater network of professionals is a key way to not only help your student grow, but to also build your own network of connections.
Have someone to go to for guidance
Another responsibility of a mentor is being a role model in their student’s field. It is likely that you are in a position that your student or junior team member may want to be in someday, so they will be looking up to you for guidance and wisdom on how to achieve their career goals. You are able to lead them throughout the beginnings of their career journey, and set an example of how to thrive in your chosen field.
However, the benefits are not just one sided. There are several ways a mentor can benefit by helping students or other junior employees succeed.
Refresh on the basics
Because you have been working at such a high level for an extended period of time, it may be difficult to recall the basics of your field. Having to teach someone the basics of a position is an easy way to get a refresher course. Going back to the roots of where you started can also be a humbling experience that takes you back to a position you were once in when starting your career journey. Remembering where it all started will allow you to help your student better.
Sense of fulfillment
Mentoring someone and preparing them for their future career can lead to a great sense of fulfillment. Seeing someone grow both personally and professionally under your guidance has an overwhelming sense of satisfaction and enjoyment. This creates a feeling of accomplishment and has a positive impact on your future as a leader.
Improve leadership skills
Although leadership itself isn’t an innate skill or trait, there are many skills that a leader is likely to have. Some of these include communication, problem-solving, creative thinking, and people skills. Mentoring someone is a significant way to not only improve the skills that you may already have, but you can also develop new ones to make you a better leader and more well-rounded individual.
The process of mentoring can be both a learning and enjoyable experience for the mentor and student. In a changing world, these mentorships play a more significant role, as they are ways to provide guidance, stability, and experience to junior team members.