By Sophie Olorenshaw
Career journeys: we’ve all heard about our career journeys or pathways, but the reality is we don’t normally realise when we’re actually on one until we spend the time thinking back on how we got to where we are. For me, I’ve come to realise that I wouldn’t be where I am today without the impact and influence of my mentors, each of playing a pinnacle role in my life’s major decisions.
Although mentors have been a part of my life since primary school, the first one I can really relate to my career was my Public Relations Program Coordinator at university. Her passion for PR and her students was what inspired me to major in the profession that started my communications career. Not only did she encourage and create opportunities to network, but she instilled in us the idea that in order to be an effective communicator, you need to know EVEYTHING about ANYTHING and grasp EVERY opportunity.
The mentorship of my Public Relations Program Coordinator led me to one of the most inspiring women in the PR sphere I have ever met: Susan Redden Makatoa.
Susan gave me my first internship, then job, and it all started by my walking up to her and briefly (and I mean ‘less-than-5-minutes’ brief) interrupted her first bite of a canapés (yes I was that nervous) to talk to her about internships. That first job set me up in PR, and although Susan and I don’t talk all the time, I know she’s always there for advice and direction if I need it.
Now, I see everyone I work with and meet to be a mentor in some way or another – whether I’m learning how to manage a team, understanding different points of views, or gaining direction and a better understanding of what it is I want from myself.
Building a beneficial mentor relationship is about jumping in and actively finding answers to help you reach your goals, meet others who spark that fire in your belly, and encourage you to be your best self.
Get out there
Still scared to go on to the next step or need some more inspiration? Here are 5 easy tips to help get you ‘out there’!
- Don’t let a night-in (dream bubble of Netflix – ahhh) pull you away from branching out. Go to a networking event (yes, even on your own), and meet up with people you wouldn’t usually see outside of uni or work.
- Social stalk your industry – find out who’s who in the zoo. Most companies have a LinkedIn and public Instagram page. Follow as many as you can to not only stay inspired, but to get a good idea of what they do, and see if it matches your interests.
- Invest in conferences – students receive great discounts on tickets to industry conferences. You’ll not only learn a bunch, but there are usually opportunities to network and meet people who are so happy to continue a relationship.
- Experiment – volunteer and intern at a range of different companies in different roles.
- Speak with industry professionals – what have you got to lose?
Sophie Olorenshaw is a Communications Consultant with UTS Careers. Sophie applies communication and public relations skills to deliver unique communications – empowering UTS students with the information, advice, and awareness of opportunities they need to succeed!