Help students start their career path with a mentor

March 16, 2022

Help students start their career path with a mentor

We’ve all seen inspirational stories of young people overcoming incredible odds. The feel-good stories capture hearts and minds in any context or scale. It might be a story about a teenage rock climber born with one arm. Or a story about a Chicago youth who refuses to let obstacles stop him. But something that’s always floating behind the scenes: a mentor (or several mentors). 

Mentoring is different from coaching. A coach jumps in for a short period of time to help a person focus on strengths and weaknesses. A mentor is more of a guide. In navigational terms, a mentor is like a north star. There are several paths that lead to success, and the mentor helps keep that big picture perspective.

As an educator, you may find yourself in the role of mentor to one or more students.

Olivet Nazarene University conducted a mentorship study of 3,000 Americans in 21 industries. They reported just slightly more than half of the people surveyed ever had a professional mentor. Only about a third said they currently have a mentor. As is often the case in life, this is an opportunity for students to position themselves for personal success. The sooner your students are paired with mentors, the better. 

Janet Phan wrote in Harvard Business Review about how mentorship can be life changing. She summarizes her experience in three ways that certainly apply to high schoolers:

  1. Take the initiative to ask for the first meeting. 
  2. Show gratitude and connect with the mentor on a personal level.
  3. Demonstrate a return on the mentor’s time investment by keeping them updated.

This LinkedIn post by Jason Heinritz is another great resource for you to help students start their career path with a mentor. We agree 100% with this motivation he offers:

Most successful people have had several mentors at all different stages of their careers and, for many professionals, the title of “mentor” is an honor, not a burden. So, do your background work, calm your nerves as best you can, and get to connecting!

Professor Ellen Ensher, PhD., shares terrific insights in this TEDx Talk. She reinforces the comment by Jason Heinritz about needing different mentors at different stages. Watch this video for some actionable steps for you and your students. And be sure to have your students add what they learn to their spikeview portfolio!


on Help students start their career path with a mentor.