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The Importance of Networking and Mentorship for Unconventional Career Paths

Updated: Mar 27, 2023

Mentorship

Networking is integral to succeeding in a career path that may not be traditional. LinkedIn provides opportunities for an individual to interact with professionals that may have a wealth of knowledge in tracks of interest. Networking via LinkedIn naturally leads to relationships that may eventually lead to mentorship in the future. Having a mentor when entertaining the thought of a non-linear career path can be a powerful tool to help guide you in decision and goal-making. Mentors have 4 roles in professional development that can lead to success.

  1. Goal setting

  2. Accountability

  3. Knowledge sharing

  4. Further networking


Setting attainable goals is a starting point for a non-linear career path with which a mentor can help. On the other hand, not having a direction or course to follow for a career path that may not be well-developed can be highly stressful and overwhelming.


Career mentors can help you set goals for accountability in reaching checkpoints. Keeping track of progress in a non-linear or entrepreneurial career path is all the more critical. A mentor can allow for this growth and goal achievement that can grow your passion into a large business.



Mentors are a wealth of information. Having a mentor may lead to a fast track to success. These individuals have gone through the process of building their businesses, and these tools can save you time and money to get to where you want.



Mentors lead to more networking opportunities. Going through the process of building your business, your mentor will guide you into new relationships that may be integral to pushing your brand further.


LinkedIn

Another extremely useful tool for those looking to pursue a non traditional career path is LinkedIn. It is really helpful to grow a network and reach out to people who have similar interests or might be taking part in something fascinating and something you might want to learn more about. It is easy to shoot someone a message and set up a time to ask them about their career, how they got there, and maybe even leave the conversation feeling inspired to take next steps and with new ideas. If you are an entrepreneur looking to start a business, people you connect with on LinkedIn might know of or have connections with other people who could be of help or have access to resources to get you started. “Who you know” is even more important for entrepreneurs and helps them take their business to the next level.


LinkedIn has another beneficial feature called LinkedIn Learning where you can learn many different skills on your own through watching informational videos to help you achieve your personal and professional goals. This resource gives people that might have non traditional career paths the opportunity to to learn things when and where they want for a cheaper cost than taking a college or university class. It also provides the learner with flexibility and choice of what individual topics they want to learn about specific to their career and future.


LinkedIn 101

Now that we know about Mentorship and other resources, you may be wondering about how to start a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn can be intimidating at first, but don't be afraid! LinkedIn is a great resource to connect with others and create opportunities for yourself.


1. Set a nice/business professional profile picture

Set a business professional or nice picture that shows your face! People want to see who you are and match a face to a name. It is best to use a headshot rather than a far away picture!


2. Set a background photo

After setting your new profile, set a background photo that helps you stand out. Choose a picture that represents you! Maybe a picture of your city or a word collage describing who you are.


3. Highlight your accomplishments and skills

LinkedIn is the place to subtle flex so show off the projects you have accomplished! Show recruiters and other peers what you have been up to and what skills you have.


4. Write an appealing summary about yourself

Share what you are currently doing and what you are interested in. Information like if you are a student, what you are studying, and what you enjoy doing are some great examples!


5. Be confident!

Confidence is key! Don’t be afraid to show who you are and what you are capable of!

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