4 Lessons from My Mentor

Thanks again for a great guest post by Nicole Martin of Employed Panache!

Ladies, I have some bad news for you… College does not teach you everything you will need for your career.  For those of you who are not nodding your heads with understanding – don’t panic!  Take a few breaths and keep reading, because I am going to share with you four concise lessons that a mentor once taught me:

1. Put most of your time into projects with impact. In other words, spend time on the stuff that matters.  Believe it or not, the little stuff can wait (unless it’s time sensitive, of course).  Focus on those projects that will have a noticeable effect on others, and will therefore give you visibility in your department, across functions, and up the chain of command.

2. Make yourself visible to those above you. Let’s say you are at a specialist level – pretty low on the corporate totem pole.  Your manager has a pretty good idea of what you are working on, but what about their manager?  And your manager’s manager’s manager?  (You get the point.)  Find ways to ensure that those in leadership roles know who you are and what you do.  This can be done through projects or even chats over coffee, where the subjects can range from industry news to that person’s career history.

3. Find your authentic self. You can think about your authentic self as the true you that your family and friends know well.  Some people find themselves caught up in how their boss or co-workers might expect them to act or what hobbies they expect them to like.  While this is important to know, it is equally important not to completely drown out who you truly are.  Find that happy medium because when you are your authentic self, you will come across as genuine.

4. Focus on your sweet spot. Lets face it… not everyone can be great at everything, even though we try over and over again!  Be honest about your strengths and limitations, and then get help or guidance from colleagues who are strong in your weak areas.  Just be sure that you return the favor.

I will always be grateful to my mentor for sharing this insight with me.  I just wish that I had known her about a decade ago!  For more about my mentoring experiences, check out Employed Panache.

Nicole Martin

Nicole Martin is the author behind Employed Panache, a blog that proves dressing for work does not mean that you have to be boring! The past several years has given her a lot of knowledge about life, whether she wanted it or not. Nicole has experienced working full-time in Human Resources while earning her MBA part-time, being a recruiter and then getting recruited, and working with over 100 interns who made her realize that she can’t always relate to her own generation. Employed Panache is the way she brings it all together through one creative outlet.

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