Finding a Formal Mentorship Program

Posted October 17, 2012 by Marcy Twete in Networking Buzz

In my best Sally Struthers infomercial voice: “Do you want to find a mentor? Sure. We all do.” And while there’s no $1 per day way to get the best mentor for you, there are ways beyond LinkedIn and your personal pool to find a formal mentorship program that can introduce you to a woman who will guide you along your way.

Any way you slice it, finding a mentor can be difficult. If you have a woman in mind, you might be afraid to ask. If you don’t have a woman in mind, you might not know who to ask. And if you’re considering someone in a different industry than you’re currently in, you might not know how to approach someone with such a different skill set. The key is to find a mentoring program through an organization that might hook you up with the perfect mentor.

These are the right places to start your search for a formal mentoring relationship:

  • Women’s Clubs. Look in your city for a “professional woman’s club” or a “social woman’s club,” and look into the perks of being a member. Many of these organizations have formal mentorship programs included in their membership fees, and can often introduce you to incredibly high level women you might never have access to otherwise.
  • Alumni Organizations. Your university likely has a mentorship program for professionals to mentor current students or recent graduates, but they may also have a program for young professionals interested in meeting other alumni. If they don’t, a Director of Career Services or Alumni Relations may be willing to meet with you 1:1 and suggest an alumni contact who could be a great mentor for you. Their job is to know everybody, so take advantage!
  • Professional Organizations. Many associations or professional organizations have mentor/mentee programs in place that operate year round. Some run in individual cities, and others run national mentorship programs that can introduce you to members in other states.
  • Company Outsourced Programs. If you work for a large corporation, you may find that your company has a mentorship program in place through a company like Menttium. These mentorships put you in touch with mentors outside your company who can help to enhance your work and move you forward in your career. They are company-paid and can be incredibly in-depth.

Formal mentoring can be phenomenally rewarding. It can mean pre-arranged meetings that are regular and include an agenda, things that are sometimes lacking in informal mentoring relationships. So go for it, join a group, and find your mentor!

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."