Changing careers can be a difficult and overwhelming process. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American professional now only stays in a role for about four and a half years.
Whether you have one year or 20 years in your current profession, you have a certain measure of experience and level of comfort in your current industry. Making a career change can feel like navigating unknown territory – you might feel unsure of which path to take or there might be stumbling blocks in your way. In this type of situation, having someone there to guide you could be the difference between feeling lost and making it to your ultimate destination. Therefore, invest in yourself this summer and allow a mentor guide you through the career transitioning process.
When you are entering a new field, a mentor with experience in your desired industry could act as a great guide for you. There are several areas a career mentor could help you when making your career transition.
A career mentor can help by pointing you in the right direction. If you are entering a new field, you may not know where to begin. How does one gain access to the field? What are the skills and requirements? What are the best companies in the industry? What are the different career paths? A career mentor can help answer all of these questions to get you started on the right path.
Once you have a direction and a plan, a mentor can help you avoid potential roadblocks. Entering a new industry, there may be certain roles that do not maximize your skill sets, or certain jobs that are less suited to your education and experience. A mentor can help give you examples of these obstacles and how to avoid them.
Another benefit of having a mentor during a career transition is that they can share similar experiences. Having a mentor who has been in the same position before can encourage you, as well as give you ideas for how to proceed. It is always helpful to hear someone else’s story. An experienced mentor has a wealth of knowledge to impart, and you can learn from their successes and mistakes.
Finally, a mentor may be able to help you gain access to new information that you did not have access to before. Perhaps your mentor has job openings at his or her current company or a previous company and could act as a reference for you. Maybe they have a contact at another company who you could meet with. In these ways a mentor can help you network and expand your professional network by introducing you to their professional contacts.
If you are interested in finding a career mentor, check out the UMUC Mentor Program. In as little as one hour per week, this program connects students and alumni with alumni mentors and could be a great resource as you transition into a new field. Find your mentor and guide for your new industry today!