Once you narrow your potential mentors down to a short list, rank them by those you admire most and would get the greatest benefit from down to those who would provide the least value. When you are ready to ask someone to be your mentor, go one at a time, starting at the top of your list. (And before you approach anyone, you should clear it with your HR department and your boss.) Don't approach the second person on your list until you've heard from the first, or you might end up with positive responses from more than one person, which would create an awkward situation.
When you ask someone to be your mentor, be straightforward and explain why you selected him or her. Most people like praise and enjoy being asked for their advice.
One additional note: Being a mentor is as rewarding as being mentored, and if you ever get an opportunity to mentor someone, I highly recommend it!
It's not easy keeping up with changes in our industry. Any tips? Information and advisory groups can be excellent for providing information on industry trends. Many allow you to identify areas of interest, and they will provide you with articles, white papers, webinars, presentations and other sources of information. I rely heavily on this approach, because I can selectively focus my limited bandwidth in areas of maximum value without having to spend an inordinate amount of time scanning everything.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.