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Find a Younger Mentor

“Find a mentor”

It’s advice we’ve all heard, and most of us have tried to follow it to one degree or another. Maybe you have had a successful mentoring relationship, maybe not, but you’ve probably put yourself out there at least once to find someone who could help guide you, your career and your decisions.

How many of us have tried finding a younger mentor? Specifically, how many of us have tried finding a younger career mentor?

Sound nuts?

Here are the top 10 reasons why you should find a younger mentor:

  1. The person in HR reading your resume is very possibly younger than you. The first job recent grads get in HR is usually to source resumes for open positions. You need to appeal to them first.
  2. They hear about new technologies before you do – and they’ve already integrated them into their job search process. Many new companies target these users – you may never hear about some of the great new web services out there.
  3. Their perspective is fresh and they haven’t settled on a certain way of doing things yet. New voices can contribute a great deal.
  4. They (typically) have shorter attention spans. If you can engage them on an idea, you know you’re on to something.
  5. It can be a 2-way street. If you’ve been out there for a bit you have a lot to offer a recent grad. Mentor them and let them mentor you and it’s a win-win.
  6. People who are newer to the work force tend to be more enthusiastic. Enthusiasm rubs off and spreads.
  7. They’ll know of job openings outside of your network.
  8. They’ll be more honest with you. In this ‘new’ era of open communications, we’ve dropped a lot of the social niceties. Sometimes an honest appraisal can be the most useful thing (the ability to handle criticism and make changes is highly valuable to potential employers).
  9. You’re not competing with them for the same jobs.
  10. If you choose wisely, a younger mentor will be flattered and thus motivated to do right by you. They’ll give more freely of their time than an older mentor might.

Major caveat: Certain portions of this list may be over-generalizations, shows signs of ageism, or simply be wrong. The real point here is not the content of the list itself, but to encourage you to step outside your comfort zone and be willing to take risks you may not have thought of. The pay-off could be huge.

Happy hunting as always!

Sean

p.s. I encourage you to leave feedback below. Anyone out there currently have a younger mentor?