The rhyme is fine for choosing team members on the playground…

…but definitely not a smart approach for landing a mentor.

A mentor in the food & beverage industry is an indispensable partner who can help you chart a clear career path, broaden your network and fast-track your professional development. If you want to accelerate your food & beverage career growth don’t play games! Use these tactics to find and win over the right professional ally:

Approach the process with realistic expectations.

  • Be patient. Identifying and landing a mentor will likely take considerable time and effort.
  • Stay positive. Understand that not everyone who is qualified to be a mentor wants (or has the time) to take on the responsibility.
  • Don’t expect a complete stranger to take you under their wing. You’ll achieve better results if you start your search by approaching people you already know.
  • Don’t seek out a best friend. Mentoring relationships take many forms (ranging from friendly to strictly professional), so focus on finding someone who will help you set and achieve professional growth goals.

Take your blinders off.

When trying to identify potential mentors, professionals often seek out individuals like themselves. While that’s perfectly natural, it also unnecessarily eliminates great prospects! Keep your eyes and mind open while you’re searching; your ideal mentor may work in a different functional role, have followed a different career path, or may even work in another industry. Search for role models who inspire you and take an interest in your career growth.

Cast a wide net.

While you may want to initiate your search by speaking with your direct manager, tap the wide range of resources you have:

  • Leaders in other departments. Your perfect mentor may already be working within your organization.
  • Online mentoring networks. Dozens of online programs, such as Find a Mentor, pair professionals with potential mentors for little or no cost.
  • Food & beverage industry events. Active, successful professionals regularly attend conferences and other events to stay at the leading edge of the food & beverage industry.
  • Professional associations. Membership in industry organizations instantly connects you with professionals who are eager to share their expertise.
  • LinkedIn and Facebook groups. With a little searching, you can quickly identify and join specialized groups related to your area of specialization.
  • Referrals. Reach out to people you know (either personally or professionally), and tell them that you’re seeking a mentor. They may already know someone who could be a perfect fit.

Present yourself as a professional worth mentoring.

Much like promoting your personal brand to get the job you want, convincing a professional to mentor you may require a bit of “selling,” too. In your communications, be respectful and professional. Explain why you’d make a great mentee, including:

  • why you’re great at your job;
  • how you’re actively building your career;
  • the fact that you’re ready to change, challenge yourself and accept more responsibility;
  • the value you’d bring to the mentoring relationship (it’s a give-and-take!).

In other words, position yourself as someone worth the individual’s time and effort.

Related Post: Get in the Fast Lane: Accelerate Food & Beverage Career Growth with a Mentor

Kinsa Group: A Partner in Your Career Growth

With over 30 years in executive food & beverage recruiting, Kinsa’s team of experts is ready to help you level up in your career. How can we assist you? Contact a recruiter, search jobs in the food & beverage industry here or submit your resume to Kinsa today.

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