Answered by Brittany, Hiring Expert at ManpowerGroup, on Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Great question! It also sounds like you have some wise mentors in your life because having at least one sponsor a key aspect of gaining more exposure and advancing in any career.
First, identify your professional mentors and sponsors. Why is this important and what’s the difference? Mentors act as a sounding board and make you feel more comfortable, but they do not have the leverage to help you get ahead. Sponsors develop talent, strengthen your chances of getting promoted by helping you to become better at analyzing problems, drawing conclusions, and communicating your solutions within the scope of your job. At ManpowerGroup, we call these Career Conversations and they will ultimately change the scope and trajectory of your professional goals and accomplishments.
Currently don’t have a sponsor in mind? Determine where you need to improve and then seek out and connect with experts in those areas. By doing some research, you can bring that up in your initial correspondence.
- "I saw that you won X award in 2012 and 2013 -- that's quite impressive! I'm just starting off in this field and would love to grab coffee if you're free sometime in the next couple of weeks."
- "I recently came across the article you wrote, X X, and it was fantastic. You made some excellent points when bringing up X, Y, and Z. If you're able to, I would love to grab coffee and talk more about X X. Do you have any free time this week?"
Of course, be professional but also genuine and make it your own. Warning to not get discouraged: Even if you do your research and craft the perfect email, sometimes people just do not have time in their schedule that month or season. Be patient, try again in a month or so, and keep reaching out to others until you find mentors that you have a genuine connection with.
Best of luck in your professional endeavors!