All posts by Samantha Hanrahan

Mentors Matter

Mentoring AdviceAs I sat waiting to catch a plane to my industry association’s national conference recently, I reminded my friend Jo, of our one year anniversary.  It was at last year’s conference that Jo had kindly offered to mentor me during my transition from human resources to the career industry.  Although I had a mentor through a university scheme, I jumped at the offer because Jo had taken a very similar path to the one I was embarking on and I figured the more access I had to skilled people on my journey, the better.  As it turns out, I haven’t exactly been monogamous in my mentoring relationships, having also enjoyed a couple of other very valuable informal relationships last year.

I actually can’t imagine having got to this point without access to these wonderful people (at least without much more pain, many more mistakes and much more time).  So what has come out of these relationships, you might ask?  Collectively, the benefits included work experience through placements, enhancing my technical skills through supervision and case meetings, expanding my network, recommendations for opportunities and actual work, developing a referee in my new industry (which helped me obtain consulting work) and learning about setting up, and running, a small business.

Potential mentors are all around us, whether it be in the workplace or the community.  Ideally the discussion of mentoring would happen when you know, or have developed a relationship with, the potential mentor because this will allow you to assess their suitability and potentially increase their comfort in taking on the role.  Yesterday I had the pleasure of connecting with a very experienced professional in my industry (I sent her an email after seeing her speak at a professional development session a little while back).  As we left the coffee shop, she said that she would be happy to continue to catch up, even in a mentoring capacity.  Although the thought had crossed my mind, it was lovely that it happened quite organically.  I will definitely be adding this person to my network of mentors which will allow me to call on others a little less and give me the opportunity to observe another style and skillset.

Whatever your stage of career, you are likely to find a good mentoring relationship valuable.  It can be a great way to grow into or out of your role, transition roles or industries, expand your network, increase your organisational knowledge, or to be challenged in a supportive context. Do you have a mentor?  What have been the benefits of the relationship?  If you don’t, is it time to consider it?  

Welcome to Career Vitality!

Welcome to the first Career Vitality blog …  I’m so excited to be launching the new website and to have the opportunity to share some of my knowledge and ideas on career development with you.  I’m sure I must have felt a similar level of passion for my previous career in human resource management, but the passion I feel for career development sometimes surprises me.  I truly do regard career management and transition skills as critical for us all in the dynamic world of work that we live in.  While we can no longer rely on employer provided job security, we can achieve a degree of security by keeping ourselves employable, ie. building and maintaining our skills and work related behaviours.

The career industry has a long history in Australia, with the professional association (Career Development Association of Australia) recently celebrating it’s 25th anniversary, yet only a few know that career practitioners exist.  For many their only experience with the career industry was the school guidance officer many years ago.  Careers and the world of work have become far more complex and fast paced and many people need to further develop the career transition skills needed for success in the modern economy.

I look forward to expanding your knowledge of the career industry, as well as your career development skills, through this website because I honestly believe that having the right people in the right jobs is critical on an individual, organisation and macro level.

Please feel free to provide comment, share any ideas and help to create an awareness of career development in our community.