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Consumer Watch: The free way to get ahead in your career

Mentoring specialists say it is never too early to reach out to a seasoned professional for career advice (KOKH).

Being good at your job is important to finding career success, but the key is standing out from the crowd. The easiest and free way to do that is to reach out to someone who has gone before you. Even a solid education may not give you the confidence to know you are headed in the right direction in your job. As an employee you should ask yourself where you want to be in five to 10 years, and then find a person who is already there.

Bryon Dickens is the Director of Students Connecting with Mentors for Success at OCCC and he says most professionals do want to share their experiences. All you have to do is ask. Mentoring relationships can also help if you've been in the workforce for years, and are looking to switch roles, like becoming a manager.

“They need to enter into that relationship with a clear understanding of what they want to gain and then they need to communicate that to the mentor,” says Dickens.

You may find through that mentor relationship that you do need more education because often growing in certain types of careers requires certifications. Kristin Kurg with the OCCC Professional Development Institute says it will mean a time commitment outside of work.

“I think it is a personal drive. A lot of people realize that they have the opportunity to take that next step,” says Kurg.

It will also give you the confidence to grow your career and potentially earn more money.

Even if you are only in the early stages of trying to steer your career in a certain direction, it's never too early to reach out to a mentor. This will allow you the opportunity to learn from some of their earliest mistakes, and avoid them.

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