5 Reasons Why Having Multiple Mentors Helps You

Jan. 18, 2017

Who do you go to with questions on your career? Or when your PCR isn't working? How about when you have a conflict with a coworker? Although it may be easier to approach your dissertation mentor or an appointed advisor to get clarity on these questions, why not consider going to an expert or another mentor? Oftentimes, we think our dissertation advisor is our only mentor and go to them for every question or problem. However, having multiple mentors can bring you so many benefits.

Here are five reasons why having multiple mentors helps you in your career, research, and life.

1. Gain Advice on Different Parts of Your Life

As an entire person who has multiple facets to life - like your career, research, extracurricular activities, and family, not to mention identifying factors like race, ethnicity, gender, etc. and how it ties into what you do, having one mentor isn't sufficient or practical. More importantly, a mentor who is an expert at conducting research may not be the best at helping you pursue a career. So seeking out multiple mentors that meet the needs of the different areas in your life helps you holistically.

2. Acquire Deep Knowledge in Your Field/Skills

Each mentor has different sets of skills and experiences that can help you based on what you need. For example, a mentor who is an expert at writing and acquiring grants may not be the best at managing a lab. Apart from the expertise level, multiple mentors can provide you a breath of solutions or advice for a particular problem. This is especially helpful when you need advice on a practice that has changed and is different from what a senior mentor experienced.    

3. More Accessibility to Mentors

Generally speaking, even though you will be doing the work, it is best practice to give ample time for mentors to respond to requests. Also, not all mentors will be available every time you need advice so having multiple mentors that you can reach out to receive advice will be helpful to you. This is especially critical when you are short on time and need an immediate response like whether to take a job offer or how to negotiate for higher pay.

4. Expand Your Network

With access to so many mentors, you are expanding your network. These same mentors may know of more people to connect with, which grows your networking circle. Furthermore, some of these mentors can become friends or colleagues as you move onto other opportunities.

5. Increase Awareness of New Opportunities:     

When you expand your networking circle, this leads to more awareness of upcoming opportunities. This could be learning of a new internship or job opportunity, or even workshops to develop specific skills. Most of the time, your mentors will be one of the first to hear about these opportunities and pass it along to you.

ASM offers a membership directory to ASM members to find mentors and broaden your network. To get started, sign in and create your profile. Join here if you are not a member and want access to the ASM directory.

Author: Shilpa Gadwal

Shilpa Gadwal
Shilpa Gadwal is the Career Resources Specialist at ASM.