- Young professionals today recognize the potential of remote work for their careers but worry about a lack of mentorship opportunities.
- Mentorship can still thrive in a remote environment if there is a dedication to cultivating meaningful relationships.
- To attract mentorship opportunities, young professionals must raise their visibility, create new connections, and be open about their desire for growth and development.
Listen: Are you a remote worker who wants mentorship? You're not alone.
Many young professionals today feel conflicted about working remotely—they may enjoy the flexibility of telecommuting but are also concerned about the impact it may have on their growth potential. In part one of our recent Future of Work report, young millennials and Gen Z shared that they prefer hybrid environments, but they're also worried that less face-to-face interaction could mean fewer opportunities for mentorship and advocacy, limiting their career progression. This is a valid concern.
A mentor can be an invaluable asset to your professional journey. In a traditional office environment, a mentor could provide support in many forms—a chat over lunch to discuss your career goals, being there as a sounding board when you're facing tough decisions, and offering valuable feedback and advice on the next opportunity on your career path. They could also introduce you in person to their network and open doors for projects or roles that might not otherwise be available to you. All through the power of simply spending face-to-face time together.
In today's remote and hybrid workplaces, mentorship is still possible—and still very much worth the time and effort! But what once could be casual and organic must now be cultivated intentionally by both those who want to be mentored and those who want to be a mentor. It all comes down to raising visibility and developing connections so meaningful professional relationships can take root.
Start by raising your visibility and sharing your value
Without those unexpected opportunities and face-to-face connections, hard work and dedication may not be enough to attract mentorship opportunities. It's essential to raise your profile among more senior team members within your organization and also across other teams. Make yourself visible in the workplace for your skills and contributions, and take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves—then, others will see that you are committed to taking action and making progress toward your goals.
Create new connections
Making a point of introducing yourself to more senior colleagues can be a valuable way to build relationships and find mentorship opportunities. It can be as simple as dropping them a quick email and asking for fifteen minutes of their time for a brief introduction. From there, be specific in your request—that you are seeking advice and guidance, you are interested in learning from their expertise, and would greatly appreciate a mentorship type of connection.
Beyond engaging with leadership within your company, you may also want to consider attending remote conferences or online events where you'll be able to network with interesting people and create connections that might be valuable mentors down the road.
Don't hesitate to speak up
When you're new, don't be afraid to ask questions—this will help you gain clarity, learn from others, and show initiative. Being thoughtful and curious to learn from others shows that you value their expertise and are eager to grow in your role. Take lots of notes so you can refer back, and it's a great practice to search questions in your browser before asking—your answer may be quickly available already! At the same time, don't shy away from speaking up during meetings and sharing your ideas. Because you're new to the organization, you may be bringing some welcomed fresh insights.
Share what you know
Networking and being a valued contributor also require you to share your own knowledge. Take time to think about what you know that other team members could benefit from, and make sure you're sharing it whenever possible. By helping others with tasks they struggle with or offering advice on specific projects, people will begin to recognize your value within the team.
Ask to sit in on relevant meetings
Joining or listening in on relevant meetings is a great way to network, be visible, and an opportunity to learn from more experienced team members. Ask your manager if you can join senior-level discussions for projects you're involved in, or just volunteer when the topic relates to something you have knowledge about. It will give you the chance to show your enthusiasm to grow and contribute more.
Be open about your development goals
Take advantage of the potential around you. Share your interest in learning and growing with others and your desire to have mentors; you may find that many folks are eager for a mentor/mentee relationship as well. Not only can mentorship provide valuable guidance to those seeking it, but it is also a chance for someone else to practice their coaching abilities or put their management skills into action if that is one of their career goals.
When you're proactive, mentorship is possible
In a remote work environment, finding and reaching out to a potential mentor can feel intimidating. Increasing your visibility, taking initiative on projects, and providing value to others are proactive ways to get you in the right direction of identifying a good mentor match for you. These steps can help you build connections with more seasoned team members and leaders at your organization that can develop into mentor/mentee relationships over time. While it may seem easier to just focus on doing great work, getting noticed in a telecommuting role can be challenging. It's even more important to be deliberate about building relationships and connections so you can position yourself for mentorship opportunities and build meaningful relationships that can help you grow in your career.
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