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Finding a job does not need to be a solitary activity. In fact, it’s better when you can tap into other people’s skills, experiences and resources to help connect with an opportunity. Networking is one great way to accomplish those goals, but having a mentor is an even better way to help you land a job faster.

Who qualifies as a mentor? A mentor can be anyone willing to take a strong interest in another person’s professional success. Typically, the mentor is more experienced and connected in the job seeker’s field, but that doesn’t necessarily mean older. If you’ve changed careers, it’s possible you’ll connect with a younger mentor who has more experience and connections in your new field.

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It’s worth looking for a mentor to take on the following roles:

Suggest Strengths

Sometimes, our most marketable strengths aren’t obvious to us. A mentor can hone in on what you offer and suggest how to market those skills to be attractive to your target employers.

Point Out Weaknesses

Is a weakness preventing you from landing your dream job? Perhaps it requires someone experienced in your field to notice you’re missing a key skill necessary to win the job. A mentor can step in and help you fill in the missing pieces so you’re competitive for the job you want.

Create a Plan

A mentor can help you strategize about a plan to accomplish your goals. Whether this involves focusing on strengths or addressing weaknesses, the mentor can help guide you to your goal based on his or her experience in the field.

Offer Connections

The best mentors open up their networks to their mentees and make introductions likely to lead to new professional relationships. A great mentor can make all the difference for a job seeker, because all it takes to find an opportunity is one great connection. An experienced mentor can be the bridge to that connection for you.

Give Advice

It’s great to read job search advice, but sometimes, having someone with their personal best interest at heart makes all the difference for job seekers. A mentor can provide insider knowledge on everything related to your search. For example, how to apply, when to follow up, how to prepare for an interview and what’s negotiable in an offer.

Teach You By Example

One of the best ways to learn how to do something well is by watching someone else who’s already mastered what you hope to accomplish. A mentor can teach you what you need to know to get the job you want.

Push You to Succeed

Sometimes, you need a pep talk from someone who has been in your situation and succeeded. A mentor can give you that boost and encourage you to stick to your goals.

Inspire You

The best mentors will inspire you to be the very best you can be, which should lead to new professional opportunities.

You’ll never know how much a mentor can help you unless you try to connect with someone willing to serve in that role for you.

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