Shadowing mentors is a recommended practice for those who want to further their knowledge and understanding in a particular field. By observing and engaging with someone who has experience, insight, and expertise in a topic of interest, it is possible to gain valuable insight into the subject area and potentially make connections for future professional opportunities. While it may seem daunting at first, finding a mentor or role-model can be quite easy if one knows how to start.
The initial step in this process should always involve building an understanding of what type of mentor or role model would best suit your needs. Consideration should be given to such topics as the industry you are interested in, the type of guidance you need from the mentor (i.e., career advice versus technical advice), geography (local versus remote mentoring) as well as any personal preferences that might help narrow down your search parameters (Gates & Baumgardner 2017). Once these criteria have been established then it’s time to start looking for potential mentors in your chosen field.
Specify exactly what the process would be to find and shadow a mentor
A good place to start is by exploring online directories which list experts and professionals within certain fields according to geographical region or other criteria that are relevant to your specific needs (Goodman et al., 2014). Many organizations will also have referral databases set up specifically so people can access them when seeking potential mentors; social media sites such as LinkedIn are also great sources of information here (Gates & Baumgardner 2017). Additionally, attending events related to the profession you’re interested in can offer direct contact with experienced professionals whom could serve as excellent mentors – these events may include conferences, seminars or workshops amongst other things (Goodman et al., 2014). Alternatively asking peers or colleagues already working within the field who they might recommend approaching could yield fruitful results too; friends or family members may be able to put you in touch with somebody suitable too(Gates & Baumgardner 2017).
Once some prospects have been identified then contact should be made either through email or telephone – depending on preference – introducing oneself briefly whilst expressing an interest in learning more about their professional experiences through shadowing them(Rautio-Nurmi 2018 ). It is important here not just ask ‘can I shadow you?’ but rather provide some detail regarding why they stand out as a potential role model/mentor e..g explain what qualities they possess which intrigue/inspire you etc.(Rautio-Nurmi 2018 ). Also offering something back like research assistance etc. demonstrates commitment which will likely signify seriousness on ones behalf thus making it more likely that they respond positively(Kilpatrick et al., 2011). Finally once confirmation has been received regarding whether someone wants shadowed regular catch ups should be agreed upon both parties so progress made towards individual goals is monitored throughout this process(Kilpatrick et al., 2011).
In conclusion finding a suitable mentor does take effort but if done correctly can pay dividends longterm thereby providing invaluable knowledge for those seeking out such individuals.