Alumna Spotight: Paula Novacki, `14
Ever wondered what life after graduation will look like? Meet Paula Novacki!
There have been a lot of changes within the last year and finding the right mentor could be the key to navigating your career in 2021 successfully. Here are five tips to help guide you along in your process.
Before you can find the right mentor, it’s necessary to have an idea of where you want your career to go. Mentors can share their knowledge to help guide, motivate and introduce you to things in your career that you may not have otherwise learned. Having an idea of your ideal career path and your goals, both short and long-term, can help point you in the direction of the best type of person for advice. Do as much research as possible on your ideal career path and identify different routes to get there.
Once you’ve created a clearer picture of where you want to be, identify a person who has your ideal career or who has gone through similar steps to get where they are today. Ask friends or people you respect for a recommendation based on your goals. And don’t forget to utilize your alumni network when you can!
When it’s time to meet with your potential mentor, you want to be prepared and do your due diligence. Be sure that your potential mentor’s career aligns with your goals, so there’s a clear connection on how they can advise you going forward. Allow the conversation to flow naturally but ask as many questions as possible.
If you’re engaging someone to be your mentor, make sure you’re ready for the commitment as a mentee. Be open to constructive criticism and approach the relationship actively. If your potential mentor is taking the time to provide advice, act on it. Follow up with them, let them know what advice or tips you’ve used and request feedback from them when relevant. Be proactive and don’t wait for your mentor to initiate contact.
A mentorship relationship can be a mutual benefit, but not everyone has the time available to commit to it. There are no rules for how many times or how long you should meet, but the goal is a long-term relationship and you want to be sure that your potential mentor is up for the task.
Finding a mentor is easier said than done, right? But, when you’re able to find that person, it can be incredibly rewarding on both sides. Pro Tip: The UofSC Mentorship Hub could be the step in the right direction to finding the right mentor and the platform makes it easy to make meaningful connections.
Nicholette Macklin is a 2013 graduate of the University of South Carolina and serves as Chair-Elect of the Young Alumni Council. She currently lives abroad in Munich, Germany and works as an International Business Development Manager for the South Carolina Department of Commerce.