How Can a Mentor Aid You in Your Job Progression?

Around 97% of people with a mentor report that mentorship is valuable, yet only 37% of professionals are lucky enough to have one—as reported by Forbes. Mentorship is powerful, so much so that it can make or break a person’s success—especially when someone has doubts about their own value, skills, and talents, or when they need specific strategies to make their vision a reality. Many of the world’s most successful people openly credit their mentors for their impressive success.

Oprah Winfrey has spoken openly about the importance of her mentor, the poet, author, and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou. Mark Zuckerberg, meanwhile, relied heavily on the business savvy of Steve Jobs, who provided the Facebook founder with advice on business strategy, product development, and marketing. Meanwhile, Oscar-acclaimed director, Steven Spielberg, has changed the world of young director, J. J. Abrams, giving him key advice on the ins and outs of Hollywood. Often, a mentee benefits, not only from their mentor’s business acumen but also their interpersonal skills. If you are looking for a job or thinking of becoming an entrepreneur, aim to prioritize finding a great mentor. Doing so can ensure you reap the following benefits.


How Can a Mentor Aid You in Your Job Progression

 A Higher Salary

A five-year study involving 1,000 employees has found that 25% of employees who take part in mentoring programs have a salary-grade change, compared to only 5% of workers who do not participate. There are good reasons for a raise after mentorship. The vast majority of mentees have said that mentors help them avoid expensive mistakes, become more adept at their roles at a faster rate, and make better decisions. What’s more, mentees are promoted five times more often than those who have not been through a mentorship program. It is only logical that companies should choose to promote and reward focused employees who keep business costs down. 

Interpersonal Skills

Mentorship isn’t just about efficiency and competence. It is also about the unwritten elements that transform a good employee into a great one. Fortune 500 companies are currently focusing far more on “soft skills” such as teamwork, leadership, and empathy, in their recruitment efforts. Mentors, having achieved high positions in their organizations, are usually fine examples of skills like emotional intelligence. They understand their emotions and others, recognized their triggers for negative thoughts, know how to reframe negative thoughts and emotions into positive ones and think of how they can contribute to the greater good. Mentorship presents a host of occasions in which your mentor can guide you to make a situation that takes long-term success (rather than short-term satisfaction) into account.

Mentorship in Small Business

The set of statistics for small businesses is more than a good enough reason to make mentorship one of your top priorities if you are launching one of your own. Some 70% of small businesses benefiting from mentorship survive for five years or more, compared to 30% of their non-mentored counterparts. These businesses are also twice as likely to increase their revenue. Don’t wait until your business is set up to start the mentorship process. Ask your mentor for help with everything from developing a business plan to identifying new markets and honing your financial skills. Your mentor can also help with networking. By making successful connections, you can access more financing for your business or find collaborators that can add unique value to your offerings.

Where Can You Find a Mentor?

If you are looking to work in a company, then research their mentoring opportunities and freely inquire about them when you are called for an interview. If you are starting your own business, then connect with resources that will connect you with a mentor in your industry. One place to start is SCORE—a non-profit organization that provides free mentoring services to small business owners. Another is the National Mentoring Partnership—another non-profit organization that connects mentors with mentees in a variety of settings, including small businesses. Finally, visit your local chamber of commerce. They may offer mentoring programs for small business owners.

The impact of a mentor on job progression and small business success cannot be overstated. With only a fraction of professionals currently benefiting from mentorship, it's clear that seeking a mentor can significantly enhance your career prospects. From helping you achieve higher salaries and promotions to developing your essential interpersonal skills, mentors play a vital role in shaping success. For entrepreneurs, mentorship is particularly crucial, with statistics showing that it significantly increases business survival rates and revenue.

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