Find your mentor

WHETHER you’re just getting your career started, establishing yourself in your chosen industry or already an experienced professional, identifying and benefiting from a mentor will help you achieve your career goals and long-term aspirations.

Thembelihle Lephoko from beauty brand Clere Radiance, says she’s benefited from the wisdom and guidance of mentors in her career, and it’s something she recommends to all professional women.

Here are her top five tips to finding a mentor.

DEFINE WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR

Having a clear idea of what you’re expecting from a prospective mentor will clear up any confusion later in the process.

Mentors traditionally help to set goals, offer advice and life lessons, as well as introduce you to their network so that they might assist further with your career.

DON’T SWEAT IT

You’re likely to be rejected a couple of times in the process — this is the norm. Not everyone will be a perfect match or have the time and energy to invest in a mentee.

Roll with the punches and move forwards, and don’t forget to thank them for their time.

GET YOURSELF OUT THERE

Make a list of events within the industry that you’re operating in. Attend as many of these as you can as they are great networking opportunities.

Putting yourself out there might feel uncomfortable, but it’s a sure-fire way to get noticed, and importantly, to identify a possible mentor.

CHECK YOURSELF

Submitting your request for mentorship is as important as submitting your CV to a prospective employer.

You need to present yourself in a way that will appeal to the person, as ultimately, he or she will be investing his or her time and expertise in you.

Mentors are not going to want to work with someone who has shoddy spelling or a rude e-mail tone.

KNOW AS MUCH AS YOU CAN

Put the hours into researching your potential mentor.

Know as much as you can about the person and what he or she has done over the course of his or her career.

It’s important when identifying possible mentors that you’re aware of their achievements, failures and aspirations.

It’s even more important that you communicate this groundwork to your potential mentor, as it shows your interest and enthusiasm to work with him or her.

Lephoko says it’s a process not only to identify suitable candidates, but also to contact them and finally establish a relationship.

“It may be a time-consuming investment, but it’s definitely worth it in the long run.

A mentor can shape your career and play an integral role in your future success.”

MATRIC pupils all over South Africa have the finish line in sight as the race to complete their schooling career nears its end.

Cindy Glass, director and co-founder of Step Up Education Centres, said: “There is no doubt that the current trial and upcoming final exams can be a sources of anxiety and stress for most, if not all, Grade 12 pupils, and their parents.

The task ahead can feel overwhelmingly challenging and the resulting fear of failure can and too often, does become counter-productive in the learning process.”

It need not be a negative experience at all. Glass shares some tips to ensure matric trials and finals success.

• Start today. Get hold of a calendar. Identify your trial and final exam dates. Use the calendar to plan your study schedule for each day. You must tick off each completed task as you go as this will give you a wonderful sense of accomplishment.

• Set your goals for each subject. Ensure that your goals are realistic. Be creative in writing these goals on an A4 piece of card which you can stick on the wall in your study area. Take the time to remind yourself of what you wish to achieve, every day. This will keep you motivated.

• Get hold of as many past exam papers as you can. Working through past papers (and using the memos to check that you are on the right path) will ensure that you are ready for the actual exams.

• Looking at the enormity of all that needs to be done for the exams can feel overwhelming. Use your calendar to break this big task into smaller, more manageable, bite-size pieces. Be consistent and hold yourself accountable for making sure that you cover the work needed.

• Ensure that you have a designated space to study. A small desk, a comfortable chair, good lighting and the stationery that you will need must be in place before you begin.

• Look after yourself. This is a time to eat healthily, exercise, drink plenty of water and get enough sleep.

• Avoid distractions. Be self-disciplined and switch off your cellphone.

Remember that you honour yourself by being intrinsically motivated and disciplined.

Glass concluded by saying: “Matric exams need not feel like an insurmountable task.

Don’t look backwards. Start working towards achieving the best that you can, today. Trust yourself and know that you can do this.”