Sponsors vs. Mentors: 6 Differences

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Career Self-Assessment: 5 Free TestsMarie Raperto, The Hiring Hub

A sponsor or a mentor?  They are very different but both are very important to your career. Basically, mentors are there to give you advice while a sponsor actively acts on your behalf. Think of a sponsor as your personal cheerleader and a mentor as a shoulder to lean on. What should your expect from them:

  1. A sponsor will connect you to career opportunities. A mentor will give you advise on how to get there.
  2. A sponsor will advocate for your advancement. A mentor will suggest ways for you to be seen.
  3. A sponsor will support your decisions. A mentor will help build your confidence and provide tips/strategies.
  4. A sponsor will publicly endorse you. A mentor may give you names to connect with.
  5. A sponsor will expect a very high performance level from you. A mentor will help you navigate any unwritten rules to help you perform.
  6. A sponsor will aggressively help you if your are confronted with any bias. A mentor will advise you on possible steps to take.

While you seek and engage with mentors, you must attract a sponsor. Sponsors have more responsibilities in a relationship so they must decide if they want to work with you.

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