Welcome to “the industry”, where connections can make or break our careers. It sounds harsh, but networking is one of the most important keys to success.
Thankfully the jungle is a lot easier to navigate with the right guide. That’s why when I first got to college, I made it my number one priority to win over a mentor.
If you’re stuck in my situation, you know exactly how annoying the process is. To help you find that special someone, I’ve compiled a list of 24 places that potential mentors usually frequent.
Meet students on campus.
- Career clubs: Get industry insight from experienced students, and possible connections to future employers.
- Academic clubs: Grow intellectually by having sporadic deep talks with a mentor.Hobby clubs: Meet the next Pablo Picasso. Film the next Leo Dicaprio. Then have them teach you.
- Cultural clubs: Get all kinds of support from students you can immediately relate to.
- Entrepreneur societies: Learn how to work your butt off from the hustlers, hipsters, and hackers that are determined to change the world.
- Upper division classes: Get help in those tough classes, and maybe find someone who can walk you through a career path.
- Group projects: Talk to the one who volunteers to be the leader. Then see who really runs the show.
- Makerspaces: If you’re looking for some crafting help, don’t be afraid get your hands dirty.
Or find experienced professionals on campus.
- The library: Librarians are grandmasters of research and a treasure trove of knowledge. All you have to do is ask.
- Company talks: A personal, company-sponsored event where you’ll get a chance to connect with employers 1-on-1. I smell potential mentors.
- Career centers: If they’re getting you a job, they’re probably a great resource to turn to.
- Office hours: Don’t overlook your teachers; an experienced professor can provide outstanding career and life advice.
- Career fairs: And an experienced recruiter could help you land that next internship.
Industry events are mentor hotspots.
- Hackathons: Build projects with an auditorium full of ambitious students. The best part? Almost everyone you meet will be from different backgrounds.
- Startup Weekends: When 100+ entrepreneurs gather together, you won’t have trouble finding a mentor.
- Industry conferences: SXSW, Hustlecon, and Launchfest - just to name a few.
- Networking events: Meet potential mentors in a relaxed, social setting. You might find a few other students with the same goal as you.
- Community service events: Mentors and benefactors help communities too.
And outside locales buzz with mentors.
- Startup accelerators/incubators: Find endless inspiration, growth, and drive from the budding world-changers that reside here.
- Coworking spaces: Like startup accelerators, but with less free snacks.
- City chamber of commerce: Talk with small business owners and get real insight into what running a brick-and-mortar company is like.
if you are in need of more places, check out this article by the Fast Company.
And going online takes only 30 seconds.
- The other side of an email: Anyone can be a mentor if you have the guts to reach out.
- Meetup.com: The real-world social media for self-starters. Meet up with strangers who have similar interests, and you could find a best friend or mentor. Meetup is also more than meets the eye, read this post on how this site can help you succeed!
- ProSky projects: Work with industry influencers on projects that reveal your innate strengths. These mentors will be right behind you as you discover new career paths, and can help introduce you to future employers.