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Ask Dr. Tom

Career Management: March 2011 Archives

Who is the best mentor for you starts with assessing what you need most in your career development.  After you clearly define what you need, you can then explore who can help you the best based on the following criteria:

1. Person of Influence - Select someone that is knowledgeable and a "person of influence."  They should have the personal power required to move your career forward.  A great mentor has strong allies and political pull internally and externally.  A great mentor should command respect through performance, stature and interpersonal abilities.

2. Trusting - Without it, you have no mentoring relationship.

3. Great Communicator - Pick someone that has strong communication skills that will provide constructive feedback.  They have to be someone that will share both the good and bad about a profession or situation.

4. Successful Track Record - The old expression that, experience is the best teacher, is true.  If they have served as mentors in the past, that's a good sign.

5. Super Connector - Find someone that has a fat Rolodex or a lot of connections on Linkedin.  Find someone who is in touch with the formal and informal networks of the organization.

6. Compatible - Personality fit is critical.  The professional chemistry must be there.

7. Helpful - Are they committed to helping you advance?  Will they be there for you?

8. Approachable - Find someone you feel comfortable with.  Pick someone you admire.

9. Knowledgeable - Identify someone that is a SME - "Subject Matter Expert."  Is this the person that you can acquire a depth of information?

10. Investor - Choose someone who has the time and energy to devote to you.  A great mentor very much wants to be a part of your success.

Copyright 2011, Dr. Thomas J. Denham, Careers In Transition LLC - March 11, 2011


Dr. Thomas J. Denham

Dr. Tom Denham is the founder of Careers In Transition LLC, a private practice which focuses on career counseling for individuals and consulting services for institutional clients. Dr. Tom has over twenty years of career services experience at Siena and Union Colleges as well as Harvard, St. Lawrence and Boston Universities.

Dr. Tom founded Northeast Public Radio's award winning talk show, The Career Forum and speaks extensively on career management issues. He earned his bachelors from St. Lawrence University, his masters from Boston University and his doctorate from Nova Southeastern University.

He has climbed over 180 mountains including the Adirondack 46, Oregon's Mt. Hood and The Grand Teton. In 2009, he survived a huge crevasse fall on Mt. Rainier by ice climbing his way out. Tom lives where he grew up in Albany where he would rather be ice and rock climbing and raising his 11 year old daughter, Rachel.

Dr. Tom Denham has been a professional career counselor for over 20 years. He helps people explore their options with career testing, make job changes and write resumes and prepare for interviews.

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