Preface: this post is part of The Definitive Salesforce Careers Guide series.
Sometimes people ask me to be their mentor, and honestly, it’s a great honor.
But I always say no. I’m a father of two kids – who has time for that?!
Until I realized… I’m unofficially mentoring a lot of people and I just didn’t know it!
It’s true. I’ve been tricked. And honestly, I really enjoy mentoring these folks. And in this day and age, with the whole internet thing and all, getting a complete stranger online to mentor you is all the rage.
Anyway, here’s my guide on getting anyone to be your mentor. I’ve learned from the best:
1. Don’t explicitly ask someone to be your mentor
You gotta be more subtle than that. From the mentor’s perspective, an official mentor position can be so scary. Are you suddenly accountable for career decisions? What if my mentee is nutty?!
Your chances of getting someone to be your mentor will triple if you never actually ask them to do it.
2. Never underestimate the power of flattery
Flattery is a powerful weapon, and no one is immune to it. Go ahead and lather on the praise – tell your potential mentor how impressed you are with their career achievements. Let them know that they’re your hero and you want to be just like them one day.
When you start feeling like you’re overdoing it, throw in one more compliment and call it a day.
3. Make a down payment
You must invest in this relationship if you expect someone to invest in you back. Realistically, you have nothing to give but your time and attention. But that is enough to make a mentor happy.
Your down payment is your story. Introduce yourself and let them know who you are and why you want to succeed. You must demonstrate a purpose, otherwise you’re just another helpless soul.
Don’t ask for anything in your first message. That’s not how down payments work. Just invest.
Hi Angela, My name is David and <insert flattery>. <Insert your story> <Insert your purpose> Just wanted to let you know I want to be just like you one day. Sincerely, David
4. Pay your mortgage each month
Your monthly mortgages are your regular updates to your mentor. A simple email that does nothing other than says how your life has been going is gold.
Again this is an investment. You get your return later. The more you invest, the larger your returns.Hi Angela, Just a quick update on my career. Recently I've been part of a <insert scenario>. I remembered a blog post you once wrote and <insert flattery>. Hope you've been doing well! Sincerely, David
5. Withdraw, but sparingly
It’s time. You’ve invested so much into this relationship and it’s time to finally ask for advice.
By now, your mentor is fully invested in your story and they don’t even know it. You’ve asked for nothing from them, and they have no reason to believe you’re just a stranger looking for shortcuts.
It’s a good time to ask a very specific career question. Generic questions get generic useless answers.Hi Angela, I hope you don't mind if I ask you for some advice. I have two job offers and I don't know which is best for me. <Insert specifics of offer #1> <Insert specifics of offer #2> I hope you can find a moment to help, <insert flattery>! Sincerely, David
At this point no human being with even a sliver of a soul can deny helping you.
Congratulations, you’ve found yourself a new mentor =)
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