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Posted at 2 p.m. on July 30, 2013
One of the most humbling parts of Capitol Hill is that so many of the top staffers started near the bottom. Many have answered phones, written constituent mail, stormed the halls of Rayburn getting signatures on a “Dear Colleague” letter — and then the right opportunity came and they were promoted to bigger and better things.
So how can that same experience happen for you? This week’s Hill Navigator question focuses on how to find a mentor to guide your own career choices. A good mentor can offer more than just effective advice — he or she can also serve as your eyes and ears for job openings and opportunities. So here is Hill Navigator’s take on how to go about finding people who can help.
Q. Any tips on finding a mentor? I know it’s great to have one, but they are difficult to find.
A. You are already setting yourself up for success in D.C. if you know how to talk with others about their experience and be willing to learn from it. But you’re right that not everyone wants to take on a new “project” in the form of “mentorship.”
Most people in D.C. are willing to give advice — for free — and talk about their experience. The trick is finding the right time, right people and right opportunities to make that happen. Here are a few ways to reap the benefit of mentorship without sending your would-be advisers running from your formal request for a mentor-mentee relationship.
The hard facts of Washington mean that situations change; some people move up while others stay in the same spot. Keeping an appreciative outlook toward those who offered to help you out early on will benefit you tremendously, no matter how high you go.