Mentors can help a lot with your career. They may come in at the critical points in your job progression by giving strong positive references or actually offering you jobs.
- Identify people who are active mentors. People are either interested in being mentors or they are not. In my consulting career, there were colleagues who developed younger people, while others never bothered.
- Understand their mentoring style. Some advise and consult, others give you challenging roles that allow you to shine, and others promote you to other people through word of mouth.
- Try to understand what motivates them. The impetus may be altruism or it helps their reputation. Possibly, they received mentoring and now want to give back. Give them satisfaction from their mentoring accordingly.
- Be a mentor yourself.