In looking for a job, it helps to have someone who can serve as a guide. That's why job seekers should also seek a mentor, says Beth N. Carvin, chief executive of the Nobscot Corp., an organization that helps with recruitment and retention. The Hawaii-based company started by developing software for exit interviews, theorizing that outgoing employees might have some particularly compelling insight into corporate culture.
So where do you find a mentor? Carvin suggests consulting with your college or university for mentoring groups. Or ask a former boss or co-worker that you admire. Don't be afraid to contact a speaker you admired at a conference or someone in your profession that seems intelligent.
The key is to not scare them off by letting them think that you expect them to hire you or spend lots of time. In your letter or email presentation, explain your goal and why you have chosen them. Explain how you think the person can be useful, but always stress the limited amount of time you'll take, Carvin suggests. Offer some times to meet and find out how they would be interested in communicating.
Why a mentor? The mentor may have insights into your field and may be able to introduce you to people. The mentor may have enough perspective to suggest different uses for talents -- uses you may have never considered. The mentor can help review resumes and cover letters to help you avoid any gaffes. The mentor may be willing, Carvin said, to rehearse likely interview questions.
Even if it is only psychological, psychology is everything and it helps to have someone on your side.