Steps to Finding or Becoming a Mentor in Your Engineering Career

The following is a summary of Episode 45 of my podcast, The Engineering Career Coach (TECC) Podcast. I will summarize the main points in this post; however, you can also listen to the show through the website or by subscribing on iTunes. I offer a career-changing tip at the end of each podcast session.

Today’s topic is mentoring which is something that way too many engineers don’t seek or become and failing to do so can have a really bad impact on your career.

Here are four steps that I detail on the show to help you find the right mentor for you in your engineering career and also to maximize that relationship:

  1. You must be clear on your career goals. You need to know what your goals are so you can find the right mentor that can help you achieve those goals.
  2. Search for the mentor. Many large engineering companies have mentoring programs, so check with your human resources department.  You can also check with your professional association or utilize online sites like LinkedIn.
  3. Select the right mentor. Here are two tips for selecting the perfect mentor:
    1. The mentor you select should share similar goals or preferably has already realized goals similar to yours.
    2. The mentor should be in your specific discipline.  If you are a bridge engineer specializing in timber structures, then ideally your mentor should be in that same field.
  4. Maximizing the relationship with your mentor. By understanding the following, you can maximize your efforts with your mentor:
    1. The relationship between you and your mentor is like a software program; what you put in will dictate what your results.
    2. Establish goals and expectations as early on as possible.  This will give you the ability to track your progress and make adjustments as needed.
    3. Meet regularly. Meet at a minimum once per month if not more in the beginning of the relationship.  Consistency is key.

I also cover the following five steps for becoming a powerful mentor during this episode:

  1. Volunteer to be a mentor within your company as early as possible in your career.
  2. Ensure that the protégés that you select are good matches with yourself. Think about what you’ve accomplished in your discipline.
  3. Talk about confidentiality with your protégé. It’s important to establish trust early on and let your protégé know that everything discussed shall be confidential.
  4. Meet regularly. If possible, try to meet in person from time to time, and try to have a regular schedule.
  5. Don’t tell your protégé what he or she should do. Provide guidance and answer questions.

Can you share how mentoring has helped you in your engineering career?

Anthony Fasano, PE, author of Engineer Your Own Success, found success as an engineer at a very early age and now writes and podcasts to help other engineers do the same. Visit Anthony’s website at to access all of the free engineering career resources he has created to help engineers succeed.