Finding a mentor may initially seem like a difficult task. Approaching someone you don’t know, someone you imagine is very busy, someone you view as a professional while you perceive yourself to be a novice–seems daunting. I offer you this suggestion, approach finding a mentor the same way you do finding someone to follow on Twitter.
I’m pursuing someone currently to be my mentor and possibly a member of my dissertation committee, so I can expound on my process, or better yet, let me give you a checklist:
*Identify someone who is relevant in the field/discipline you’re pursuing, and has characteristics with quick you may be able to connect.
*Begin reading some of this person’s work: conference presentation transcripts, published articles, books/book chapters, stories on this person in the periodicals and websites
*Now that you’ve gotten to know this person on paper, you may begin looking for their social media presence–is this person on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, WordPress, have their own personal or professional website? If so, friend them, follow them, subscribe to their website(s) and YouTube channel(s).
*At this point you should either be reaffirmed that you want this person to be your mentor, or you have let this person go from your possibly mentors list and gone back to bullet one of this checklist.
*If you are reaffirmed you want this person as your mentor, you are more than likely so familiar with their work that you can send them an email informing them that you’ve read some of their work, that the _____ argument/topic/theme really spoke to you, and then ask an informed question about that topic/theme.
*If the person responds, reply back soon with signs of gratification and another question. If they respond to your second email.
*Then ask if there is a time you all can meet or speak more over the phone.
*If you get the “call back”, you are basically being interviewed at that point to be that person’s mentor. You have read all a lot of their work at this point, and you should have some idea of the things your are interested in (it does not have to be a dissertation or thesis topic, just simply state what you’re interested in at this point in your matriculation or career) that you can share with this perspective mentor.
*From there it is history, butter, a slice of cake, and you have yourself a bonafide mentor.