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Having the right mentor can mean a big difference in your success.
Having the right mentor can mean a big difference in your success. / Reza Estakhrian/Getty Images

Working with a mentor can lead to workplace success. Make certain your search for a suitable mentor is every bit as successful. Here are ways to help you do that:

Conduct a self-assessment.

What are your strengths and weaknesses? Where do you really want to improve? Knowing those can suggest likely mentor candidates with suitable skills and experience.

Whom do you admire?

Some people seem good at what they do, while other people may be a few notches above that. “Look around and see who inspires you,” says Ellen Ensher, a mentoring authority and professor at Loyola Marymount University.

Cast a wide net.

Talk to as many people as possible. Don’t overlook social and professional networks such as LinkedIn.

Be straightforward.

Let your mentor know right away what your objectives are. Says Ensher, “Make a warm connection, but be direct.”

What's in it for them?

For instance, if you approach a colleague, offer to provide feedback on their communication or leadership skills if they’re interested. “Think about complementary skills-- how do you complete each other?” says Ensher.

If someone isn't sure they want to mentor you, keep at it.

Showing persistency can help convince someone of your determination. “Woo them, but don’t be a stalker!” says Ensher.

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