Dressing for success isn’t always necessary
by Bobby Yagake
The digital age has introduced mentorship platforms for students to meet mentors online. According to Forbes contributor Diana Tsai, these mentorship programs “care about the things you care about” and cover various communities.
“The same platform/community can be developed for any Tribe, whether it’s women leaders in tech mentoring up-and-coming women-in-tech, or successful minority entrepreneurs mentoring aspiring minority entrepreneurs or individuals newly diagnosed with a life-threatening illness being mentored by survivors who know what they are going through,” Tsai said.
Students believe they have to dress for success when they meet their mentor in person. This may make students overanalyze facial cues and body language. According to Tsai, the benefit to a digital mentorship at home is that it “creates a safe space for vulnerability and authenticity.”
Multifamily Marketing and Communications Strategist Lisa Tufano suggests researching the career history of someone and learning about what made them successful. She also suggests being willing to engage with them on their social media pages. “If you really want to maximize the upside of each pivot you take in your career, you simply cannot do so in a vacuum,” said Tufano in her LinkedIn article. “You can often get the benefits of mentorship simply by being a good online researcher and spectator without ever actually asking someone, ‘Will you be my mentor?’”
While Tufano suggests engaging with mentors, she reminds readers to be sensitive. Mentors have their own schedules and contacting out of nowhere may not be welcome. Some mentors will mention they are open to mentorships on their LinkedIn pages. In fact, Tufano lists “mentorship” in her list of experienced skills on her LinkedIn page.
Online mentors can also be part of dedicated organizations. Entrepreneurs can use MicroMentor to find mentors from both small and large businesses. SCORE Mentoring allows entrepreneurs to search for mentors that can help them reach their business goals.
Lastly, although the means of networking are great, students should still be courteous and observant of their mentors. They are given more opportunities to find mentors in the digital age, but must still hold themselves to professional standards.
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