After searching through your higher education options, you realized that trade schools are for you. Whether you've chosen HVAC, computer science, cosmetology, healthcare or any other skilled trade, going to school is the first step to your new career. But, what else do you need to succeed? Along with classes and hands-on practical experiences, you might need a mentor. Check out where you can find a career mentor.
Trade School Staff
Your teachers are much more than educators—they're also professionals in the field that you've chosen to work in. It's not easy to teach a hands-on class if you've never done the job before. That's why most trade schools hire experts who have years of professional experience to teach.
Okay, just because someone is a pro in your preferred field doesn't mean that they're the right mentor for you. But, if you have a teacher who you admire, connect with or appreciate from a professional standpoint, this person might just be the mentor for you. Listen to what your teachers have to say about their own career paths. If you find that your teacher's story matches what you expect from your career, go ahead and ask if they'll mentor you.
Are you taking an internship or practical externship through your school? If you are, then you're meeting potential mentors. Your site supervisor or senior employees can have expert insight into your career choice. Find time (before your work day starts or after it's over) to sit down and talk to these potential mentors.
Keep in mind, you're not looking for someone who can help you to get a job (at least, not yet). You're looking for someone who can help you to understand your career path and give you a "been there, done that" type of advice.
Family and Friends
It's entirely understandable if you made your trade school choice based on what your dad, uncle or close family friend said about their career. Maybe you've always admired Aunt Jenny's choice to become a salon owner. Or, maybe your brother's best bud gave you the idea to get into electronics.
If you already have someone in your life who has been in your future field, you might just have a built-in mentor. This type of mentor is an easy choice, and often a comfortable one too. Chances are (considering that you already have a close relationship) that you won't have any worries about approaching this person or asking them to provide guidance to you.
A mentor is more than a teacher or a friend. This person is a professional in your chosen field, and can provide advice, assistance and the understanding that you need as you begin your career path. Along with acting as a guide, your mentor can offer insights that you might not find anywhere else.