What's the best way to find a CS mentor?

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You asked, Kristi answered!

Check out this week’s questions and answers with CS Insider’s new advice column with Kristi Faltorusso from CS Real Simple. Don’t forget to post your own tough work question for Kristi to answer next time. *All questions are anonymous.

Dear Insider, what is the best way to find a mentor in the CS space? I am ideally looking for a role in my city in Calgary, Alberta, or work remotely if allowed. So it would make sense to find a mentor with a local presence if possible.

I applaud you for realizing that having a mentor is an invaluable resource. Mentor and mentee relationships are personal, so before you start making a list of who, begin by thinking about what - what do you want to get out of this. There is also value in having a mentor who has experience in mentoring and may not have industry experience. They could help you manage internal politics, career progression etc. Personally, I have had both industry mentors as well as career coaches and learned a ton from both at different stages of my career.

Once you decide on what you want to get from your mentor there are programs that will pair you with a mentor, like Catalyst’s Coaching Corner. If you really feel you would benefit from having someone local that you can meet up with, you can try finding someone on LinkedIn and try reaching out to them directly and see if they would be willing to work with you.

Given how much we can do virtually these days, I don’t see location as a “must”, and unless you are in a big tech city, your resources might be limited.

Dear Insider, would you say I should be ok starting a CS local community if there is none in my City, maybe even in my country. This is considering I have not worked yet as a CSM but I am pursuing the certification and the role. I have many years of experience in CRM and project and program management though.

Communities are a fantastic way to get connected with your peers and colleagues to share ideas, network, find candidates and new roles, that said there are a lot of CS Communities so before you start your own community, I would recommend checking out some of the more popular CS Communities, like GainGrowRetain, and try to find CS professionals in your area to connect with.

If these communities fall short of meeting your needs and expectations then my first recommendation is that you share this with the community admins, as I am sure they would appreciate the feedback and then start to put together your thoughts on the real need for a new community. If you are simply seeking meetups to have in-person gatherings, there are also other communities that can help you create a spinoff.

Long story short, don’t try to recreate the wheel, leverage what is available and if there is nothing that meets your specific needs, you can start to consider other options.

Follow Kristi on LinkedIn and subscribe to her new website, CS Real Simple.

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