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Mentorship Matchmaking: How to Find the Right Design Mentor for You

Finding the right mentor can be a game-changer for accelerating your growth and career

UX/UI Design
5 minute read

Do you have a growth mindset? Are you looking for career support? Then you might benefit from a mentor. Finding the right mentor though potentially challenging, can be a game-changer for accelerating your growth and career. In this article, we'll explore advice for finding the right mentor for you.

Where do I start?

How do you know whether or not it’s a good time to find a mentor? A mentor can provide genuine guidance, feedback, and support as you navigate the challenges of the industry. They offer insights and share their own experiences to help you develop skills, build networks, and gain perspective. Most importantly, they’ll be there to support you through challenges and help celebrate your wins, so any time is a good time.

Before embarking on this journey, consider the following:

  1. Which industries and products are you interested in?
  2. What are your career goals? Understanding your goals can help you find a mentor who aligns with your aspirations.
  3. What do you want to improve? Identifying areas in which you want to grow can help direct you toward a mentor who has experience in those same areas.
  4. What is your communication style? Ensuring their communication style aligns with yours can foster a more comfortable and productive mentoring relationship.
  5. What is your availability and time commitment? A mentoring relationship requires time and effort from both parties in order to be the most effective. Make sure you are able to block out regular non-negotiable time for your personal growth.
  6. What mentorship format do you prefer? One-on-one, group, or a combination of both?

Look for a mentor

Woohoo! You’ve decided that looking for a mentor is the next step. So where do you start? I recommend joining mentorship programs like ADPlist (a free global community of 15,000+ design mentors and mentees), finding folks in roles you admire on LinkedIn, and connecting in other online communities. Specialised mentorship platforms can help provide more structure to the mentorship.

Before deciding who to reach out to, consider the following:

  1. Do your research and look for someone with experience that aligns with your interests and personal values.
  2. Look for someone who is willing to invest consistent time and energy.
  3. What time zones do they live in? Matching with someone from a similar area can help keep meetings accessible.
  4. Seek out a diverse range of mentors with varying perspectives for a richer well-rounded mentorship experience.
  5. Trust your gut.

Looking for free design communities to find mentors? Check out our blog about design communities to learn more!


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Reach out

Reaching out to a potential mentor for the first time can feel daunting, but with the right approach, it can be a positive and productive experience. Once you find someone you feel would make a great mentor, make the first move! If you’ve found them through ADPlist, you can immediately schedule meetings, depending on their availability. If you’re connecting via LinkedIn or another community, reach out and ask them to schedule a quick virtual chat.

To help make that first move as comfortable as possible, consider the following:

  1. Craft a thoughtful message. How will you introduce yourself, share what you’re looking for, and describe the value you can bring to the relationship?
  2. Personalise your message
  3. Be clear about your goals
  4. Be respectful of their time
  5. Show your appreciation
  6. Not everyone will respond right away, or at all. They may be busy, may not have the bandwidth, may have misunderstood your goals, or may just not be the right fit.

Finding the right mentor can take time, so don't get discouraged if you don't get a response right away. Stay positive, and persistent and keep reaching out.

Meet with your mentor

You’ve found the right mentor for you, congrats! Remember that mentorship is a two-way street. Be open, mindful, and committed to the relationship, and you'll likely find that the benefits extend far beyond gaining new skills and knowledge. A mentor that suits you, can help you grow both professionally and personally.

To make the most out of your mentorship, consider the following:

  1. How often should you connect?
  2. How long should your meetings be?
  3. Set clear goals with your mentor and work together to create a plan to achieve them.
  4. Take initiative and be proactive in scheduling meetings or reaching out for advice. Be mindful of your mentor's time, but don't be afraid to take the lead.
  5. Be an active listener and be open to their advice and feedback. View their input as an opportunity to learn and grow. Take action on their recommendations and implement their suggestions. Follow up with your mentor on your progress to keep that communication loop flowing.
  6. Take notes and document your progress. Notion, Excel, on paper or whatever works for you!
  7. Express gratitude.

What if it’s not working out?

In case you feel like one mentorship isn't the right fit for you, it's important to stay transparent. Express your gratitude for their time, energy, and ongoing support but let them know you are looking for something a bit different. Remember, if you approach the conversation with appreciation, a good mentor will likely be understanding and appreciate your honesty.

You did it!

At the end of the day, we all need a little help from our friends or in this case, a mentor. Having someone in your corner who's been where you are can make a huge difference in your career and confidence. Remember to keep an open mind, embrace feedback, and pay it forward when you have the chance.