Do Yourself a Favor

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What do a seasoned professional, a novice practitioner and a college student all have in common? They can all benefit from having a .

Whatever stage you’re in your career and whatever your age, you can always gain from the knowledge others have to offer. It’s important to have someone invested in your career success — someone who knows about the industry and has experience dealing with similar issues that you either will face or are currently facing.

Behind every successful person is a mentor who, at one point or another, provided guidance or took a chance on them when no one else would. Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg and Clint Eastwood are some (cough, cough) recognizable people who attribute their successes to a mentor who took them under their wing and pushed them a step further.

PR and mentoring.

Mentoring and public relations are both centered around relationship building and communication so it’s no surprise that the two go hand-in-hand.

As a senior, I’m terrified at the thought of transitioning into the workforce in just a semester. I was recently assigned a PR practitioner as a mentor through the Oakley Society Mentoring Program and can’t begin to explain the relief I’ve already felt from knowing that I have an experienced professional at my fingertips to answer my (many) questions.

There are seemingly endless paths you can take with a PR degree and choosing one can get overwhelming. The only way to figure out what you love to do is to gain experience or, if you are lucky enough, borrow experience from a polished practitioner.

How to get one.

The idea of having a mentor is wonderful but if you don’t already have one, the task of finding one can seem daunting. If you are in college, take advantage of the many resources you have and either join a mentoring program or ask a professor you admire if they can mentor you.

Whether you are in college or not, shoot for the stars. If there is someone at work who you know has been in the field awhile or you go to a seminar and happen to love what the speaker says, ask them if they have the time to mentor you. You’d be surprised at the number of people who are receptive to mentoring because they, too, were probably mentored at some point.

Ideally, mentoring should be a mutually beneficial relationship and chances are someone would like to pull from your knowledge and experiences just as you would like to pull from theirs.

Mentoring can be as hands-on or hands-off as you want it to be. Whether you would like to form a lifelong bond with someone or just have a person to turn to when an issue or question arises, do yourself a favor… get a mentor.

Lexi McKenzie is a senior public relations major at The University of Alabama. She is a writer and editor for Platform Magazine, a student-run PR publication at Bama and an ambassador for her college . Follow her on Instagram and LinkedIn!

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