Mentoring is a vital resource for PR professional development. When we struggle with tough decisions, hearing guidance from someone who has been there before is invaluable. Finding an experienced professional, one who you trust to help work through a situation or guide you in your career could be the missing puzzle piece of your success. Anyone looking to develop professionally will benefit with a mentor.
At last week’s minute mentoring event at a few major themes surfaced as places where mentees turned to mentors for help: work-life balance, navigating work situations and career development.
Work Life Balance
It’s no secret that a 9-to-5 schedule doesn’t exist in the PR world. The news cycle is 24/7 and PR practitioners need to be ready to take action at any time, but taking a break from work can make you a more effective and engaged professional. Everyone should unplug from work and focus on other activities that bring them joy. By doing something as simple as going for a run or mastering a new culinary feat, you will come back to work refreshed. Try it – you may be surprised at the new ideas that can arise just by stepping away from your desk. At the WWPR event, one mentor mentioned that her company implemented a 7-to-7 rule where staff may only send out emails from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. She said enforcing this rule resulted in happier employees.
Navigating Work Situations
If you have ever had a situation pop up in your professional life that you weren’t sure how to handle, talking with a mentor could be a great way to solicit feedback and help you find a solution. Unsure how to negotiate a vendor contract? Find a suitable mentor who has experienced the same situations you are now dealing with. This person can share their tips on how he or she has worked with vendors and help you learn to become a more successful employee. Your boss will thank you when you’ve saved the company money with your newfound negotiating skills!
Advancing on Your Career Path
Many mentors at the WWPR event advised attendees to “be heard.” They all reiterated the importance of “speaking up” in the workplace. Many mentees mentioned that they work hard and only hope that their work will speak for itself, but as the mentors explained, it’s not enough. Professionals everywhere need to stop waiting to be invited to the conversation. You can do this by expressing your interest in joining a project and sharing your ideas with organization leadership. Having a mentor can help you define an effective strategy to help you stand out within your company. While your ideas may not make the final cut, people will notice that you are thinking, and working hard. You’ll soon realize that by speaking up, you are also advancing your career.
Your Role as a Mentee
Interested in finding a mentor? A number of organizations – including Adfero – already have great mentoring programs in place, so ask your HR department! If your company does not have a mentoring program in effect, local industry organizations often have programs to help you establish a mentoring relationship. You can also simply email someone you admire at your own company. No matter how you find a mentor, it is important to define what your goals are, find the best person who can help guide you in achieving your goals and then work at that relationship. Schedule and optimize your interactions by having a topic of discussion and be ready to listen and learn. Mentors only want you to succeed. All you need to do is trust and listen!
Andrea Summers is an Account Executive at Adfero Group. She also currently serves on the WWPR Board as the Membership Chair. She blogs at Adfero’s News and Insights blog, where a version of this story first appeared.