When you find yourself racking your brain on how to become a better employee, try turning to a specific someone for guidance or advice. Your parents, friends, and co-workers may offer words of wisdom, yes -- even asking your boss outright can get you some valuable insight. But if you want someone who will actively, knowledgeably, and effectively shed light on what strategies will clear the path for your promotion, consider acquiring a mentor.

In her Forbes article, "How Becoming a Mentor Can Boost Your Career," Lisa Quast writes of the professional benefits one can easily acquire simply by participating in a mentorship. According to Quast, a mentor is "someone who helps another person grow, develop, or progress forward in their career." Mentors help you define your career goals, and as Quast ponders, "if you don't know where you want to go, how will you determine how to get there?"

Mentors improve your sense of accountability, something many bosses and executives seek in those they employ. As a mentor's watchful eye creates added pressure on you to perform, you will find yourself becoming more responsible, more disciplined, and more of a likely candidate for promotion. By learning from a mentor's own history and experience, a mentee can achieve career goals and achievements at a more rapid rate. 

Still not convinced? Believe the numbers -- the Human Resources department of Sun Microsystems compared the career progress of 1,000 employees over a 5-year period, and found that employees who received mentoring were "promoted FIVE times more often than people who didn't have mentors." The study even found that mentees -- and mentors -- were "approximately 20% more likely to get a raise than people who did not participate in the mentoring program."

Entrepreneurs and business owners alike know that no one can operate successfully within the business world all by his or herself. Even if you aren't self-employed, this rings true for any professional looking to climb the business ladder of success. So don't wait! Your mentor -- and accompanying pay raise and promotion -- await.