Never Stop Learning: Why Having a Mentor is Crucial as a Young Professional by Brandi Boatner and Kate Enos

Albert Einstein once said, “”Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.”

Yes, we’ve checked the boxes: graduated from high school, received a diploma in college and got our first, second or third job. But that doesn’t mean learning should ever stop, especially in the workplace.

In public relations, all the classes in the world can’t teach you what you learn while on the job. The art of managing tight deadlines, heavy demands and expecting the unexpected isn’t on any syllabus. But there is one resource that remains untapped and full of knowledge – those who have blazed the trails before us in the world of public relations, otherwise known as mentors.

January marked National Mentoring Month, a celebration of those who choose to dedicate valuable time and energy into the next generation of professionals. No matter your age and title, everyone can use a mentor.

The trick is finding a mentor.

According the New York Times, it won’t happen overnight. Here a few tips and tricks to finding the right match for you:

  • Time: It takes time to cultivate relationships and to see if the chemistry fits to make a match.
  • Industry: Find someone in communications and public relations if that’s the career path you see yourself in.
  • Commitment: Make sure your potential mentor is willing to put time into meeting regularly and making you a priority.
  • Goals: Set goals, and know your strengths and weaknesses before you meet with a mentor.

Mentoring is not only for those who are seasoned practitioners in the field. New professionals in the industry can also be mentors through “reverse mentoring”.

Recently, the Wall Street Journal found “many businesses are pairing upper management with younger employees in a practice known as reverse mentoring. The trend is taking off at a range of companies, from tech to advertising.”   

With the advent of social media, new technologies and innovative marketing techniques, businesses across a variety of industries recognize the skills, knowledge and expertise young professionals bring to an organization, thereby benefiting all employees.

Your mentor is out there – all you have to do is ask. So, what are you waiting for?

 

Brandi Boatner and Kate Enos are the PRSA New Professionals Section mentorship co-chairs.

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