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Having a trusted ally in the workplace can be the difference between excelling in your industry and slamming face first into a career plateau. To maximize your professional growth potential, selecting a mentor to support you and share industry expertise that helps you navigate your career path is a feasible option. Picking that right-fit individual can be a struggle if you don’t know where to start. Consider these qualities before you close the deal on your new mentor relationship.

She’s Been There Done That

To secure a beneficial mentor-mentee relationship, research someone who has achieved noteworthy accomplishments in your desired industry. Pick a mentor who has your dream job and has rightfully owned the title of a “lady boss.” Reputation and perception hold a lot of weight. A mentor with a broad range of victories under her belt will be able to give true-to-life examples of obstacles she’s faced and offer strategies to overcome them. She will reassure you that your overwhelming feelings and anxiety will be a distant memory as you continue to learn and grow. A credible mentor will have a positive attitude that calms your fears and is flexible enough to consider your suggestions for achieving real success in your field. If she’s not likable or there is no personal connection, keep looking.

She’s Open To Sharing Ideas

Be careful not to fall in love with a mentor at first glance. Success doesn’t automatically guarantee the willingness to exchange ideas. A woman who fears competition may assume you’re vying to eliminate her space on the A team. The ideal mentor won’t be threatened by an up and coming rock star. She’ll be proud and most likely flattered that you’ve chosen her to aid in your professional progress. Be sure to get a clear understanding of her availability and expectations. An informal mentorship may involve as needed check-ins and tips, while a more formal setup may require documentation, projects, and evaluations. Your best mentor will help you recognize areas for improvement and will push you out of your comfort zone. She won’t let you make excuses for subpar performance. She’s serious about the mentorship and will empower you to be the best.

She’s Loves Her Field

It is highly possible to be good at what you do and still lack passion and drive. A professional with a lackluster approach to achieving goals is in no shape to lead or mentor a newbie. Steer clear of this type when seeking a mentor. The right mentor is gregarious, empathetic and enthusiastic — and her drive to succeed is contagious. During discouraging times, she’ll throw a life jacket to save you from your fears. Your perfect mentor is not only advocating for your learning and development, but she’s also enrolling in continuing education and attending conferences to gain access to the latest industry trends. Maybe she’s written a book or two and can recommend her most favorite reads. A great mentor takes pride in tactfully offering constructive feedback and uplifting you. Make a list of what’s most important to you and find someone who closely fits that mold.

A winning mentorship can be life changing. If you poll the most successful leaders in your field, they’ll credit their success to a mentor or role model. A satisfying mentor partnership will encourage you to hold fast to your career dreams and remain accountable for accomplishing the objectives you’ve outlined in the roadmap to your end goals.

Ashley Watkins, Career Coach and Nationally Certified Résumé Writer with Write Step Resumes, LLC, provides high-quality résumé writing, interview preparation and career coaching services to help job seekers get more interviews and salary offers. She can be found on FacebookTwitter,Instagram, Pinterest, or via