You graduated from college and landed your first job! Congratulations! Now, you’re entering your career field, but navigating the industry isn’t easy. You have a lot of questions and no one to turn to for guidance.
That was me almost 10 years ago in the early stages of my career. I had the skills to do my job. College prepared me for that, but understanding the nuisances that occur in a newsroom truly baffled me.
I Needed A Mentor:
I had questions like what battles were worth fighting? Is it common for this to happen in a morning meeting? How should I approach my managers? Reading and role-playing in college is one thing, but when it happens in real life, it’s a whole new ball game.
In that time in my career, I truly needed someone who had experience in the news business to help guide me through my first job. I didn’t have anyone. So, I learned through trial and error. This is where a mentor would have been clutch, truly valuable. I met some industry professionals at a journalism convention months before starting my first job, but no one I could say was my mentor.
Now I’m A Mentor:
Fast forward to the present day. I’m now showing up for three journalists as they embark on their career. I’m what I needed when I was their age.
I started offering them support before they even landed their current job. Three years later we’re still going strong. We talk often about career paths, resume critiques, and video reel reviews. I’m very serious about my time and craft. I refuse to work with those who lack focus, discipline, and make no attempts to fix problem areas. That’s why I’m only working with three young ladies right now. I can’t say this is a partnership. I give and they receive. I’m okay with that. I give them what I didn’t have in this business starting out.
You Need A Mentor:
Here are three ways mentors can add value to your life.
I think this is my favorite part of being a mentor to these three young women. I believe in them with my whole heart and I don’t mind saying it all. A mentor should be your loudest cheerleader, rooting you on from the sidelines.
Throughout your career you will have doubts about your skill set or if you’re cut out to handle the job. Your mentors are there to remind you that you have what it takes. If it’s determined there is an area that needs improvement, they’re right there to show you how to correct it. Mentors celebrate your wins and help pick you up from a loss.
As a mentor, I’ve helped my mentees explore their career opportunities. I help-not make decisions for them. I would hope the knowledge and wisdom I’ve poured into them over time will guide them to make the best decision for their life and career.
Generally, your mentor is experienced in their career and life. Their guidance is coming from a place of been there, done that, and let me show you how to not make the same mistakes I made. They can also show you how to find success based on the path they traveled. Your mentor should bring a wealth of business and industry knowledge to the mentorship based on their real-world experience. Experience can’t be bought and to be able to tap into that through a mentor is truly priceless.
My Mentees Sound Off:
As a mentee, be willing to accept constructive criticism, have a desire to learn, and an open mind. I asked my mentees to share some of the best advice I’ve shared with them. Check out what they had to say.
‘Always be accountable for myself as a journalist. This includes taking an active approach in being a community-driven story-teller as well as being a strong voice and advocate for whatever I believe in. She is very inspirational and has always motivated me to believe in myself even if no one else does.”
“Get to know the community you’re working in. Even if you’re only there for 2-3 years, be active and involved outside of work. Attend schools’ career days. You remember being that kid that wished someone would come talk to you and your friends. Be that for the next generation.
Don’t be ashamed to take time for yourself. The stories we tell and the things we see daily can be a lot at times. Always do what need to gain peace and decompress.”
“Jamiese, I honestly don’t think I’m ready to anchor and report. Well if you don’t believe in yourself, who else will? This is a confidence game. You need to believe in you. Once you start to do that, you’ll see just what you’re made of.”
“So invest in yourself, attend the NABJ conferences, take scripts home and read until you’re comfortable.”
“Invest the time.”
Their kind words show me they’ve been receptive to my advice, been willing to learn, and don’t mind taking action. This was also super sweet and a blessing to my heart!I hope my experience and my transparency show you how a mentor can add value to your life and career journey.
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