Mentoring is becoming more common in the business world. About 70% of Fortune 500 companies have some kind of Ethnic Minority Career. Even if your company doesn’t have a formal way for you to connect with a mentor, you can still find one on your own and benefit from it.
Here, we’ll talk about some of the best things about having a Ethnic Minority Career and how to find one if you don’t know where to start.
More opportunities to move up in your career
When getting promoted, professionals with a career mentor always do better than their peers who don’t. A review of a female-to-female mentoring program at Flinders University in Australia, for example, found that 68% of mentees had been promoted at least once since the program began, compared to 43% of staff who had not received mentoring.
Minorities can benefit even more from mentoring when it comes to career advancement. Cornell University reviewed the research on mentoring programs and found that the promotion and retention rates of minority men and women who were mentored went up by anywhere from 15% to 38% compared to their peers who were not mentored.
Getting paid more
Having a mentor is linked not only to more frequent promotions but also to higher salaries. What is the same about Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Richard Branson? One thing they all have in common is that they are all very successful billionaires. For Gates, it was Warren Buffet. For Zuckerberg, it was Steve Jobs; for Branson, it was Freddie Laker, an airline entrepreneur.
A study of 7,500 employees, both those who had a mentor and those who didn’t, found that those who didn’t have a mentor had salary increases that were about the same as the rest of the population, or about 10 to 12%, for the study. On the other hand, managers and employees who had a mentor got raises that were, on average, 3–4% higher. This led to pay raises 22% higher for employees who had a mentor than those who didn’t and 34% higher for senior managers who had a mentor. In other words, employees who had a mentor got bigger raises and also made more money over time.
A better sense of one’s health
An Ethnic Minority Career can help you in more ways than just getting a raise or a promotion. Having a career mentor can improve your health and happiness in several important ways.
In a review of mentoring programs in higher education, researchers found that mentees felt more confident and liked themselves more on the job after just one year of participating in a mentoring program. Mentors can help employees improve their jobs by giving them coaching and other forms of professional development that they might not get otherwise. This gives employees more confidence in their work.
Also, mentees said that after a year of spending at a Ethnic Minority Career, they better managed their time and had a better balance between work and life. Work-life balance is a big part of how happy employees are in general, which affects everything from turnover to performance.
In every field, there are some things you can’t know unless someone takes the time to tell you. You’ll get additional insider information from a mentor a few years ahead.
In academia, for example, a Ethnic Minority Career can advise on how to apply for and get tenure, which gives more job security and freedom in the workplace. In finance, a mentor can tell you which companies have the best reputation and which ones you should stay away from.
Feedback from professionals
An Ethnic Minority Career can be a good source of positive and negative feedback about your work. Even though your quarterly or annual performance reviews give you some information, they usually don’t give you the kind of personal, in-depth coaching that can move your career forward.
A mentor is also an unbiased person you can bounce ideas off of or ask questions you wouldn’t be able to ask a manager or a peer. Questions like “Should I change companies?” or “Should I ask for a raise?” are hard to answer. “What should I do about my hard-to-please boss?” and other questions can all be answered by a mentor in a very helpful way.
How to Find a Mentor in Your Field
You’re not the only one who doesn’t know how to find a Ethnic Minority Career. It’s like dating, but your professional reputation is at stake, so the stakes are higher. The good news is that there is a natural and effective way to find a Ethnic Minority Career. Here are some ways to find a new mentor and start talking to them.
Identify people you admire
If you work for a bigger company, you might start with high-performing people below you. Look around your industry to find people leading projects you want to copy. Ask people you know and trust to put you in touch with people in their networks. Also, there are many non-profit organizations, like SCORE, for small business owners whose sole purpose is to match mentors and mentees.
Not everyone has the time or willingness to be a mentor, so start with a few.
Set a date
This is probably the hardest thing for most new mentees to do when they want to find a mentor: ask them out on the first “date.” It helps to see this event from a different point of view. Think of it as a casual time to get to know each other instead of a high-stakes meeting where you’ll cement a big relationship.
Keep it casual, like a quick coffee chat. Learn more about the person and think of a few questions you want to ask ahead of time, but don’t make it an interview. This is a chance to get to know each other and see if a natural connection could lead to a long-term working relationship.
Think about how it went.
First impressions will tell you if this individual will be a good mentor. Did you get along well, or was the conversation awkward? Did they seem interested in helpfully answering your questions, or did it look like they were just watching the clock until the meeting was over? Most importantly, did they leave a way for you to contact them in the future? For example, did they give you their card or ask you to call back with more questions?
Remember that it may take more than one of these meetings to find a mentor who seems like a good fit. Once you do, it’s much easier for the relationship to grow independently.
Lastly, remember that mentorship relationships don’t have to last your whole career to be helpful. When you meet with someone a few times over a few months, you can sometimes learn a lot. Short-term mentorship might be beneficial even if it doesn’t convert into a long-term friendship.