In science and other STEM professions, the trajectory of one’s career is impacted heavily by the activities and productivity of the first several years. As with all endeavors – resources, infrastructure and guidance are indispensable to solidifying a strong start. In this talk, several funding solicitations available exclusively to early and mid-career researchers such as the INTERN Dear Colleague Letter, the highly coveted CAREER Award and the new Mid-Career Advancement Solicitation will all be highlighted. Funding profiles will then be discussed in terms of their relation to typical career progressions and select professional pathways. Following the discussion of funding, guidance on how to be an outstanding mentor as well as find, secure and get the most from your mentoring relationships will be provided. Lastly, strategies for building a strong cast of mentors within your workplace, beyond your institution and by means of professional societies will be shared.