The Unemployed Mentor: Sharing Your Skills to Sell Them

Posted by | November 3, 2012 | Tips For Job Seekers

Where are you in your career? Just starting off, mid-career, or would you call yourself a seasoned professional?

Regardless of where you are, you all have one thing in common – you have skills to share. And not necessarily just with employers. Thinking outside the box – a.k.a. thinking away from employers – will help you with your job search. Regardless of what you may think, everyone has at least one skill set to share with others who are in a similar field. A great way to build connections and find leads is to find an organization that offers some kind of mentorship program. Here’s the trick though – you are not looking for a mentor, you are going to be a mentor.

For those who are the ‘seasoned professional,’ you have years of experience to offer as valuable insight. This is the more traditional, typical mentorship we commonly think about. Whether you are working or unemployed, you can share your industry knowledge with someone else – and you never know, perhaps your new mentee will be someone you can learn from and can provide you with leads on available jobs.

Reverse mentoring has been a trend that is rising over the past few years. Mostly seen internally in larger corporations, reverse mentoring is pairing up the senior staff with the junior – where the junior is the mentor and the senior is the mentee. Most situations revolve around the junior helping the senior to learn more about technology, social media and generational trends.

In your job search, you have the opportunity to sell not only your job-specific skill, but also everything that revolves around it. Think about the senior staff in the workplace –there are many working professionals who are lacking in the technology skills that 20-somethings thrive on. Here’s your opportunity to mentor someone on these skills that are likely second nature to you.

There are many ways you can connect with both formal and informal mentorship programs. You can check out the Alumni services department at your college or university to see what kind of mentor programs they offer, connect with your local Chamber of Commerce and research industry associations. Informally, even just attending networking events and starting up conversations with others about topics that you are passionate and informed about can lead to you learning whether that person could benefit from a better understanding – which opens up the opportunity for you to offer your help and skills for them.

Networking is vital to your job search. Making a positive impression is even more vital. So why not make a stellar impression by lending your skills, ears and attitude to someone else through mentorship. It will be a fantastic addition to your resume; you’ll build more connections and gain a great referral.

~ Melissa Macfarlane is a Career Development Professional with Northern Lights Canada.

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