As a professional woman in the workforce, do not underestimate the importance of having a good mentor. This individual can help you uncover the possibilities that exist within you to get to the next level within your career. A mentor “walks the talk” and is someone you aspire to become. They comprise the qualities, skills, and characteristics that you want to emulate.

Mentors are typically established leaders (e.g., have more experience, skills, & knowledge) that work either inside or outside of your company and advocate for you when professional opportunities arise. A mentor can provide guidance, advice, and even small amounts of specific training in order to help you meet your professional development goals. The right mentor can be the difference between being stuck in a position with no opportunity for advancement for years on end to receiving raises, promotions and accolades for all of your hard work and effort.

If you have been considering working with a mentor but simply do not know how to get started, the following information will help you select the perfect mentor for YOU. First, let’s discuss the reason that working with a mentor is SO valuable to you as a professional woman.

Why Are Mentors So Valuable For Professional Women?

There are numerous benefits to building a mentor relationship with a seasoned professional, most notably of which include access to new contacts, knowledge, and skills. Mentors can help you build your resume, guide you along on a new project, help you identify resources, and refer you to other important colleagues in your field. In turn, this can help broaden your range of professional opportunities down the road. To top it off, it has been found that professionals who have had mentors earn $5,610 to $22,450 more annually than those who have not. Also, Seventy-five percent of executives point to mentoring as playing a key role in their career progression. With the right mentor, you have an opportunity to be much more successful, especially in today’s fast paced world.

Selecting the Right Mentor for YOU

The following 5 suggestions will assist you in selecting a great mentor:

1) Take the Initiative to Select Your Mentor. Since you will benefit most from the relationship, it is important that you take the initial step in establishing contact with a potential mentor. The ball is in your court to start the relationship. Target the best people for you and determine which high-level professionals in and outside your company are most suited to become your business “soul mate.”

2) Know What you are Seeking. The right mentor for you depends on what knowledge you are seeking and skills you are hoping to gain. Thus, assess the areas in which you excel and where you need more assistance. Make a plan for developing relationships with potential mentors who have knowledge and experience that you don’t. It is important to determine this information before selecting a mentor. This way you will be better able to choose the individual who will be most beneficial to you and your future career goals.

3) Choose a Mentor Who you Respect and is in Alignment with your Values. It is important that the individual that you select as a mentor is someone you respect and admire. If not, you will take what he/she says with a grain of salt and not give much credence to their suggestions. It is also helpful to hold similar values and have something in common with this person. For example, as a working mom it might prove to be beneficial to have another working mom serve as your mentor. She will be able to provide you with advice and direction regarding how she balances her high-level career with motherhood. Also, she will be able to provide you with the pros and cons of choosing a certain career direction while you are parenting children at home.

4) Make Certain the Personality of your Mentor Meshes with your Own. Since you will be working with your mentor very closely, it is important that you select someone whose personality fits well with your own. This will allow both of you to obtain the very best from the relationship.

5) Choose a Mentor Who Knows Your Industry. Another important consideration to keep in mind when selecting a mentor is to ensure this person is an expert within your chosen industry. If you are in the legal industry, choose a mentor who knows that industry. For example, the CEO of an investment company may be a great choice for someone in the business world; he/she may not be the best choice for an individual entering the field of dentistry.

You may now be thinking to yourself, this all sounds great. However, I do not know the first thing about how to go about locating a potential mentor. Do not fret. That is the next topic up for discussion!

3 Ways to Find a Mentor

1) In-house Mentoring Programs. Some large companies have in-house mentoring programs. Check-in with your supervisor or the HR department to determine if your company sponsors a mentorship program. If your company does not offer this option, I would strongly encourage you to find a mentor on your own.

2) Join a Professional Organization. If you don't have any idea about who to ask to serve as your mentor, one tip is to join a professional organization that supports your industry. Not only will you be provided access to events, educational seminars, and networking opportunities, many organizations also have an established mentoring program. If not, you can always look to the leaders of the group and ask someone that you resonate with to coffee.

3) Take Advantage of the Internet – blogging and other forms of online social media are an excellent way to establish professional connections. In fact, a good mentor doesn’t need to provide face-to-face interaction. Much can be accomplished over the phone or via e-mail.

Mentoring has helped many professionals just like you reach levels of success that they never dreamed were possible. Now that you are more knowledgeable about how to find a great mentor to help you to learn and grow as an individual and as a professional, you are ready to get out there and establish a mentor-mentee relationship. I have no doubt that you can achieve all of your career goals and be wildly successful! Sometimes all that you need is a little help, guidance, and a kick in the behind along the way. Here’s to your success in finding an ideal mentor!

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Marla Enhelder, Working Mom Coach & Mentor, is founder of Take Charge Mama. A company devoted to empowering working moms to live their best life through balancing a thriving family, fulfilling career, and a blissful self! To get your FREE Audio CD by mail and receive her weekly newsletter packed with information rich tips that you can implement immediately, visit