Over time anthropologists have blazed career trails

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Over time, anthropologists have blazed career trails and done what might have seemed unusual or impossible before, entering new realms where this type of hire was never previously considered. Some anthropologists even had jobs created especially for them, based on their particular skills. Hearing their stories about how they got these jobs can be very insightful as you are getting started and in later stages of career development as well. It is likely that someone has created a career path similar to what you want to do, so the networks and communities of established anthropologists and colleagues are great resources for up-and-coming anthropologists. Everyone can benefit from good mentorship. We believe that it is most advantageous to have multiple mentors. These can be anthropologists and nonanthropologists; a mentor can be anyone whose judgment you trust and advice you seek. A mentor can both encourage and constructively critique your ideas and work. Mentors can be people who are in your personal life or your professional life, or cross over these domains. The concept here is to be able to get a range of input from diverse people who do not all think in similar ways or even value or prioritize the same things. Inevitably, if you have a variety of mentors, they may offer conflicting advice about what choices you should make or what you should do in specific circumstances. The mentors will be able to see your strengths and weaknesses, your skills acquired and skills needed, and good opportunities as well as ones that are not as promising. You must then take all of this feedback and decide what to do with it, but you will be better equipped to do so from getting this mixture of perspectives. We have an exercise later in the book that will enable you to further contemplate roles and expectations for mentoring relationships that you would like to have. We strongly encourage you to share all of your responses to all the exercises with your mentors. The exercises can help you discuss a series of important career-related topics in a more structured way and help you get additional valuable feedback. Another important benefit of good mentoring is that your mentors can help you to develop a strong professional network. They can introduce you to new people, and if you have a range of mentors, it can be expected that they will know different people as well. Oftentimes the mentor can serve as a liaison to meeting people and as an advocate who puts in a good word about you and your capabilities as well. Like mentoring, networking involves finding people you can learn from and help. Your mentors can aid you with learning to communicate effectively in such situations. Some of the exercises will help you with introducing yourself and communicating about your interests, skill set, and what you can offer. Keep in mind that networking is an important ongoing career activity and not just something you do when you are job hunting.

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