Reconnecting with Mentors
We all know we're supposed to nurture our network. So when was the last time you reconnected with one of your mentors?
Mentors are a crucial source of information and inspiration: finding the time to connect with key mentors keeps your job hunting network fresh and your industry knowledge and skills current. So make time for your mentors.
We all suffer from "too-much-to-do, too-little-time-to-do-it" syndrome so choose the relationships you nurture wisely. Spend time brainstorming a short list of two or three key mentors to focus your time on. You may wish to connect with a peer whose career you admire, or identify someone who works at a company or position to which you aspire. By homing in on mentors with information relevant to your own career aspirations, you reap a smart return on time invested.
Next, figure out the best way to reconnect. If you are in regular contact, suggest a lunch or drinks date for a longer catch up. If you've let your relationship cool, consider approaching your mentor first with an email. Craft a note with a few quick sentences that lets your contact know what you've been up to and why you are reaching out. Make sure you make contact for a specific reason; ask for an opinion on jobs you are considering or request advice on a certain aspect of your career.
Two Way Street
Any successful relationship is a two-way street; recognize that while you look to your mentor for advice and career leads, that you in turn have something to offer. Approach your relationship collaboratively; share information on projects you've been working on that may be useful to your mentor or offer to connect your mentor with your own up-and-coming network. Invite your mentor to industry events you host such as panels, presentations or networking events.
We all have busy schedules, including your mentors. So think beyond networking lunches and e-mails for opportunities to connect; creative forums for interacting can provide maximum impact. Schedule "walk and talk" dates for bonding while hiking, running or yes, walking. Or you could connect over gym classes, volunteering opportunities or even while commuting.
Make it Regular
Finally, once you're back in contact with a mentor, keep the relationship going. While regular lunch dates may be tough to schedule, you can follow up on any face time with periodic email updates. Maintaining a dialogue can be as simple as forwarding interesting articles or updates about your career from time-to-time.