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How a career mentor helped Christine land her job

A career mentor can give you advice, guide you and even help you land your next job.

Christine Bulos. People shaking hands at work. Career mentor concept.
Lawyer Christine Bulos instantly clicked with her career mentor. (Source: Supplied/Getty)

Christine Bulos was the first in her family to go to university and said she felt like she was entering the legal industry in the dark.

“I’m from a minority Christian group from the Middle East. We are called Assyrians. There are not many professionals in my culture because of the hardships that they tend to go through,” Christine said.

Christine decided to join a formal mentoring program in the final year of her law degree and was matched with Karen Finch, the founder and CEO of legal tech marketplace Legally Yours.

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Christine said they instantly clicked and Karen helped her understand the ins and outs of the legal industry, as well as giving her clarity on her career direction.

“I was struggling with [what] practice area was the most interesting to me. I used to work in property law during uni, and after I graduated, and I realised I wasn’t passionate about it,” she said.

Through Karen, Christine said she was able to learn more about technology law and digital law. She now works at commercial boutique law firm Allied Legal, which works with start-ups, and connected with her employer through Karen.

As well as tapping into your mentor’s network, Indeed career coach Sally McKibbin said mentors could offer you advice from different perspectives, help you build your skills and provide you with honest feedback and suggestions.

“You can hear from somebody else’s perspective and they will share stories with you about the things they have done and succeeded, or potentially the things that they have done that haven’t gone as well,” McKibbin said.

How to find a career mentor

McKibbin said you could get a career mentor at any point in your career, but said it was important to think about what you wanted to get out of the relationship.

“Identifying your personal career goals and thinking about the long-term or short-term things you are trying to achieve will help you,” she said.

There are many organisations that offer mentorship programs, McKibbin said, which may be paid or unpaid. For instance, Christine said she connected with her mentor through The Legal Forecast’s free program.

You can also look to your existing network and make a list of people who you admire or aspire to be like, McKibbin said.

“Whether that’s a family friend, somebody in your professional network, somebody within your workplace or externally. Think about who is an inspiration or who are successful people who you would like to be like,” she said.

Once you’ve found someone you want to be your mentor, McKibbin suggested meeting up with them for a coffee and making sure you felt confident and comfortable with them.

“Have an open conversation, where they can ask you questions and you can discuss your goals. You also need to explain why you want them to be the person and what you are hoping to gain,” she said.

Making the most of it

To make the most of the relationship, McKibbin said it was important to ask for feedback, prepare to be challenged and to do the work.

“In a mentor/mentee relationship, you are going there typically for growth or to expand on a skill. It’s being open to that feedback and making sure you put that advice into practice,” she said.

“Make sure you are trying to achieve those goals, taking on the feedback and applying it so you know you’re not wasting anyone’s time.”

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