Why Every Young Agency Pro Should Invest in a Mentor

By | June 30, 2016
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Starting off as a young professional in the agency world can often be intimidating, especially if it’s your first job right out of college.

Fortunately, I’ve got a quick (and super helpful) tip for you that can help ease those nerves of yours. Invest in finding the perfect mentor and then nurturing that relationship.

Interested in learning how a mentor can help set your career up for success? Let’s take a look at five key benefits you can receive from having a mentor at your agency.

1. Learn the Basics

Let’s face it – you aren’t going to know the ins and outs of your agency right off the bat. Luckily for you, your mentor does and can assist in this area.

Allow your mentor to give you the rundown of your agency’s basic standards, policies, etc. Take note of different tips and tricks, such as how to properly track time or where to save specific documents. This will help make daily processes easier, more productive and efficient in the long run. Absorb the information that is given to you and aim to never have to ask your mentor (or others at the agency) the same question twice.

2. Master the Art of Client Services  

Learning new client industries and best practices for communication methods can be tricky at first. Your mentor, especially if they work on the same accounts as you, can help ease you into the process.

Ask your mentor for tips based on his or her own experiences. Some tips could include how certain clients prefer to be contacted, how to draft up the perfect email, or leveraging quick and impactful wins. Your mentor can help set you up for success by positioning you strategically in the eyes of the client. Ask your mentor to review and advise on client communications to ensure you are accurately portraying the message you are trying to deliver.

3. Construct a Guided Career Path

Along with showing you the ropes of agency processes and client services best practices, your mentor can also help pave a purposeful path for your career.

Your mentor has much more experience than you, and in turn, wisdom. Soak in the advice that is given and utilize it to fuel your agency journey. Consider drafting your development plan, including goals and milestones over the next year.

Look for opportunities to learn from (and even help) your mentor, so you can begin stepping outside of your comfort zone to expand your horizons and try new projects. For example, consider asking them for a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis every six months, or ask them about their favorite books and podcasts.

4. Embrace the Beauty of Feedback

Feedback is key no matter what stage you are in your career. Take the time to sit down with your mentor periodically to touch base. Check in with each other and discuss the status of performance and current projects (for both you and your mentor).

According to Harvard Business Review, during feedback sessions you and your mentor should always ask questions, such as “Where are we going?” “How can I help you?” “How can you help me?” Following this structure can help deliver clear and actionable feedback.

Mentors can provide you with valuable insight to help you understand your strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, you can also learn how to give feedback and proactively manage up, which can be useful across all accounts.  

5. Gain an Internal Champion and Friend

In addition to helping you succeed, your mentor can also be your friend.

Mentors can be your greatest internal champions. They want to see you succeed just as much as you do throughout your agency career, and will be willing to work with you to get there.

Get to know your mentor by taking the time to nurture your relationship. Invite him or her out to coffee, lunch or even happy hour to take a break form everyday office life. This will allow you to get to know each other better and create a stronger connection.

And remember, whether your relationship is assigned or develops organically, you and your mentor should take full advantage of this opportunity to grow as professionals.

How do you nurture the relationship with your mentor? Share with us in the comments below.

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