Many product management professionals would like to get involved in mentorship, whether as a mentor or as a mentee. However, getting started can be challenging. How do you select the right person to mentor, or to mentor you? Where do you even start to look?
While there’s plenty of advice out there building an effective mentor-mentee relationship, the initial step of actually searching for a mentor hasn’t received as much attention. Below, we’ll share some places product managers can begin the process of seeking out that ideal mentor or mentee. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve focused on virtual/remote mentorship options. However, we’d like to point out that in-person, local platforms like Meetup are offering some virtual sessions. Let’s dive right in.
Online communities take many forms, including Slack channels, discussion forms, and question-and-answer platforms like Quora. However, in our own experience, PM-focused Slack channels tend to have dedicated spaces for mentorship and career growth. Here are some of the most popular.
Product Manager HQ Slack community
As the largest product Slack community in the world, this group has over 7,700 members and forty-plus active channels. A number of these channels relate to recruiting, interviewing (including #pminterviewsessions, which allows for mock interviews), and mentorship. Members receive access to AMAs with industry leaders from companies like Google Ventures, Shopify, The Muse, and Intuit. Also, active participants can find invites to local events, product discounts and early access, and more.
Women in Product Slack community
If you’re a woman or female-identifying person in product, this community is a must-join. With over 7,000 members living around the world, it’s a great place to meet PMs who share your interests and understand your challenges. Their #mentorship channel alone has nearly 2,000 participants — you’re sure to find useful resources, and maybe even that perfect mentor or mentee right there. If you’re looking for local networking and mentoring opportunities, the community offers a number of channels based specifically on geographic location.
ProductCraft Slack community
Ha, we couldn’t resist tooting our own horn. We started this community back in May to coincide with our ProductCraft Virtual event, and since then it’s grown to over 400 members. If you’re looking for mentorship opportunities, we invite you to join and get to know the community.
These online services specifically match mentors and mentees. Some are not limited to product management professionals, but all can help you find your perfect mentoring partner.
Plato for Product Managers
Plato is a mentorship platform that focuses on the product management, engineering, and human resources fields. The majority of users are in leadership roles and are looking for someone to guide them as they build the best possible team. Plato’s PM mentor community includes executives from companies like Box, Lyft, Eventbrite, and Segment. If you’re interested in joining this group of mentors, you can apply.
Want to search for a mentor/mentee right away? Mentor Cruise makes it easy to do just that. Simply enter your criteria into their search engine and voilá — you’ll have a list of potential mentorships partners at your fingertips. While their mentor community is tech- and SaaS-focused, you’ll find mentors from a wide range of industries to help you grow your career. For a monthly fee, mentees receive 1:1 advice and guidance from their mentor, including discovery sessions, video chats, and interview preparation.
This mentor-mentee matching platform is 100% dedicated to PMs. During each six-month session, you’ll be paired with a single mentor/mentee. The two of you will take part in regular 1:1 chats, discussions with the wider Product Mentor community, and live-streamed lessons. At the end of the six months, you’ll have built a strong relationship with your mentor/mentee that both of you can continue throughout your careers.
Sometimes your perfect mentor or mentee is closer than you think. In fact, your personal and/or professional networks might be a goldmine of mentorship opportunities.
Just about every college and/or university has an alumni association, and these can be helpful resources for finding fellow alums working in your field. As a plus, you’ll already have something in common with them, which is a nice ice-breaker.
Does your company offer a mentorship program? Ask your HR department and find out. And if there isn’t one, why not pitch the idea? Being the one to start a mentoring plan at your organization would like great on your resume, plus you’ll get the chance to shape the program.
Social media channels offer plenty of opportunities for mentorship if you know where to look. LinkedIn in particular can help you search for and find the ideal professional mentor. Check out LinkedIn groups focused on your field and jump into the conversation. You might be surprised by how quickly you build rapport with other professionals, which can easily evolve into a mentor/mentee partnership.
Best of luck in your mentorship search!