Finding the Right Mentor

Listed as my eighth bullet in a previous post, “Sweet 16 Things To Do Before You Graduate,” I suggest readers to find a mentor.

As summer interns out there have probably met everyone in the office by now, it might be the perfect time to shop the office for a mentor.

I’ve outlined some key qualities of a good mentor to help you on your search. I’d love to hear some additional qualities in your comments.

  • Well-Established — As the newbie of the office, you’ll want to find someone who pulls some weight. If your mentor sticks his neck out for you at the end of the day, you’ll want it to mean something to the person deciding your fate.
  • Interested in Helping — As a follow-up to the first key quality, my suggestion is to not necessarily find the person at the top of the food chain. The higher-ups of an agency may not be available at your disposal. Try to find the right balance in selecting someone who holds clout and is interested in your development.
  • Not Far-Removed — Another reason to find balance in the food chain, you want your mentor to be able to relate to your situation. The industry has changed quite a bit over the years with the paradigm shift in media relations.
  • Common Personality — You’ll click with some members of the office better than others. Find a mentor you enjoy talking with — someone you share hobbies / interests with. This will help you establish a good mentor / mentee  relationship.
  • The Door Opener — Look for someone well-connected in the industry. If your agency can’t keep you full-time at the end of the summer, the door opener just has to make a few phone calls before you wind up with an interview.
  • Knows Their Stuff — Maybe your office has a social media guru — maybe it’s media relations you’re looking to perfect. Find a mentor who will be able to put tools in your toolbox.
  • Takes It Off-the-Record — In addition to finding someone you can look up to and emulate, you might look for someone who you can trust to keep things confidential. If you’re having a rough week and need to vent, it helps to have a go-to who will respectfully keep it between the two of you.

9 thoughts on “Finding the Right Mentor

  1. Hi Ryan,

    Thanks for a great post. I’ve been an intern at two organizations since August 2008. I had outstanding mentors at both organizations, and they made my internship experiences fantastic.

    It’s great to find PR professionals who are truly willing to take promising students under their wings. I’m grateful to those mentors who trusted me with big responsibilities and had my back through the entire process. I can only hope I’ll be an excellent mentor to a young student someday.

    I’m from Ohio, and our local PRSA chapter is starting a mentoring program in the fall. I’m excited to see how it turns out.

    Thanks again for a great post.


  2. My name is nontsindiso i am a new PR student .Am not yet familiar with PR bt i would realy like to have a mentor who can monitor my development and growth in my studies .Am a student from Unisa in South Africa. Thank you

  3. My name is Tsakani a pr student with unisa.I’m about to finish my studies next year so I’m lookin for a mentor in pr and help me with lookin for a internship

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