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As you’re attempting to become established in your career, one of the best resources you can have is a great mentor. Finding a mentor is especially important if you’re a young entrepreneur and are working toward understanding the intricacies of your industry and what it means to run your own business. While most people have likely heard about the importance of having a mentor, far too few people actually pursue this course. Finding a fantastic mentor takes effort, but that doesn’t mean you should dismiss it. You might not think you know people who would be willing to be your mentor, but that just means you need to put more of an effort into networking! Here are some surefire ways to make sure you find and keep a great mentor who can help you on your path to success.

Start with people you know

It can be daunting to find a mentor if you don’t immediately have someone in mind or a close enough relationship where you feel comfortable asking for that kind of support. While you may feel a bit apprehensive about asking someone to give you career advice and taking on the role of a mentor, just remember that it’s a common practice and people will be appreciative you thought of asking them. It’s a good idea to start with people you know, but if you don’t personally know someone you’d like to be your mentor, find other people who you admire and get to know them better.

Take time to talk

Before asking someone to be your mentor, you need to talk to them and decide whether or not they’re the type of mentor you’re looking for. Someone may be wildly successful in their industry and seem like a great fit, but they may not have good communication skills or any time to devote to being a mentor. Taking the time to talk to someone and get to know them on a more personal level is a great step before asking them to be your mentor.

Put in hard work

If you truly want someone to agree to be your mentor, you need to be willing to put in the hard work necessary to show you’re determined to succeed. Spending extra time and effort on your work shows the people around you that you’re dedicated to your career and if your potential mentor asks about people’s impressions of you, they’ll know you’re a hard worker.

Be open to criticism

When you finally create a relationship with a mentor, it’s vital that you stay open to criticism. If you can’t accept constructive criticism, a mentor may not be the best choice for you. A mentor is meant to provide you with guidance and advice, but a good mentor will also let you know when they think you should be doing something differently in a way that could benefit you more. Learn to be open to your mentor’s suggestions and you’ll find advancing in your career with their help even easier.

Give back to your mentor

Finally, it’s important to remember that you should give back to your mentor in some way. While most people will be mentors simply for the chance to help someone succeed in their career and work toward their future, some mentors may want your help with something else. Even if your mentor says they don’t need anything from you, it’s a nice gesture to write them occasional thank-you notes or give them small presents on holidays as a way of showing your appreciation. And remember to always mention them when you talk about your professional journey; don’t take sole credit for what you accomplished if you had a mentor helping you along the way.