The 2 + 1 rule for finding a mentor or sponsor

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When it comes to our careers, we’re often encouraged to have mentors or sponsors: People who not only give us advice but who can also open doors and help us expand our networks. These relationships can also act as a support system should we lose our jobs or need to make a career change.

However, what happens when someone can no longer be your mentor or sponsor? Over on Harvard Business Review, Sylvia Ann Hewlett explains why you should have more than one sponsor and how to begin cultivating those relationships:

The ideal life raft, research from the Center for Talent Innovation shows, consists of three sponsors: In organizations with fewer than ten people, you’re best served by having one sponsor within the firm and two outside of it in the same industry; in larger firms, you’ll want one outsider and two insiders — one in your line of sight and one in a different department or division. This “2+1 Rule” pertains for every career stage, from entry level to executive.

She then goes on to explain how to start positioning yourself as a leader inside and outside of your organization in order to connect with potential sponsors. Read the rest of her advice here.

Not sure how to find a mentor or sponsor? View our presentation below or watch a recording.

What do you think of the 2 + 1 rule? Share your insights (and alternatives!) in the comments below.

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About Author

Former Editor and Creator of Idealist Careers, a publication of Idealist.org. Follow me on Twitter @ajlovesya.

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