April 5, 2021 | By: Cesario Mora
Do you know how Luke Skywalker defeated the evil emperor, overthrew an empire, and saved the galaxy from being blown into pieces by the Death Star? Luke had a mentor. His mentor was the legendary Jedi Master Yoda. As aspiring industry professionals, we all need a Yoda in our lives to guide and keep us from straying into the darkside (i.e unemployment). The beginnings of a fast-paced industry can be intimidating, so having the guidance of someone who knows the nooks and crannies of the industry can give you the knowledge to thrive. That is why mentorship is so important for professional success! Here are 3 reasons why:
1. The Experience
PR pros weren’t born, they were made. Believe it or not, they were once nervous beginners just like us. They faced the same amount of rejection, stumbled over their words, and have had many awkward bumps on their journey to success. PR professionals have an arsenal of useful advice to share that would be valuable for anyone starting their PR journey. Finding a mentor who has successfully overcome obstacles would benefit you tremendously, as it will enlighten you with what career choices you should make and avoid.
2. The Honesty
Henry David Thoreau once said, “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.” And while most of us wouldn’t mind having tons of money and/or being internet famous, what we should really strive for in this industry is to have someone in our corner who can give us the honest truth. That is why it is so valuable to have a mentor. A mentor can provide constructive criticism and even call us out when we have misstepped. There is so much room for growth when our work is evaluated by an experienced pro.
3. The Guidance
Recently in my Entertainment PR class, we were blessed to have a guest speaker talk about her career path in the entertainment industry. We discussed how representation is not only important on-screen, but also behind the scenes as well. Curious about how diverse the industry was when she began in 2008, I asked if the field was inclusive or if it was “dominated by old straight white dudes.” Unsurprisingly, it was the latter. However, she drove home the point about how she found a mentor in someone who was also POC. This mentorship helped her find her voice and hone her skills which allowed her to navigate successfully in a white-dominated space.
Would Luke have been able to defeat the Emperor without the guidance of Master Yoda? Well, yeah, eventually. But It would have been hard. Could you enter the PR field and end up having a successful career without having the guidance of a mentor? Well, yeah, eventually. But why make things harder for yourself? As we enter this field, we should actively seek out a mentor to help guide us to success. And hey, if you are unsure about how to start a professional relationship with a mentor, PRSA has you covered. Check out https://www.prsa.org/career/mentor-connect. PRSA will help connect you with a mentor who can help you with your PR career goals.