A mentor is a more experienced person in your industry, who agrees to give you advice from time to time. You may have heard that they are incredibly valuable for your career, but do you know why? Here are five reasons: 

1. Mentors can offer advice that’s in your best interest, not the company’s

Mentors can help you identify areas you need to improve in, but they can also point out when it’s time for you to move up a level, ask for a raise, or look for other opportunities. That’s advice most bosses won’t give you.

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2. Mentors can be objective

When you run into challenges at work, your direct manager or co-workers may have trouble removing themselves from the equation. Your mentor, however, is detached from the problem. They can help you analyze the situation and brainstorm solutions without being distracted by their own needs. 

3. They can help you set goals and avoid pitfalls

Mentors are further ahead in their careers than you are and can therefore offer valuable advice. They can help you set realistic goals, take advantages of opportunities you may not be aware of, and avoid pitfalls that they wish someone had warned them of. 

4. They can help you expand your network

Because they have been in the industry longer, mentors often have larger and more established networks. They can help you connect to other people who can help you along the path to career success.  

5. You can ask them questions you are embarrassed to ask your boss

Not all bosses are good teachers, and they aren’t always receptive to questions. A mentor, however, has agreed to help you. You can ask your mentor for advice on your work without worrying about looking like you don’t know what you are doing, which can be a fear when you ask questions of your boss.  

Now that you know how mentors can benefit you, it’s time to establish some other beneficial habits. Next time, we'll give five habits that ensure success at work.