Why Veterans Should Seek Out Mentors

The transition from military service to civilian life has its challenges. Enlisting the help of a mentor can make the process easier, and bolster your post-military success in college and/or the workplace.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Veterans in the Workplace study, veterans with mentors have multiple advantages, including smoother transitions to the civilian workplace, expanded career networks and exposure, and additional career development opportunities.

How Can a Mentor be Helpful?

Consider how many career options there are out there. What do you want to do for the rest of your life after the military? Does it relate to what you did in the service, or is it an entirely new field? What is your next step? A mentor can help guide you as you work through this stage.

A mentor can provide feedback on your career search, and give you insights and information you may not have considered. Talking to someone about your goals, strengths, work style, and other factors can help you formulate a precise post-military career plan.

Once you’re ready to jump in, a mentor who is also a fellow veteran can be quite helpful in crafting a stellar resume and preparing for interviews. Translating your military experience to civilian terms can be difficult. Your mentor can critique your resume and help you clarify your experiences in language that will catch a hiring manager’s attention, as well as help you practice discussing your military work experiences the same way.

Want to start your own business? About 25% of servicemembers want to pursue entrepreneurship, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Mentors who’ve owned their own companies can provide priceless insights into the myriad things you need to know to get started – and thrive. Their experiences are a treasure trove of knowledge you simply cannot find anywhere else.

Mentors connect mentees with people that can provide invaluable insights and access to their extended networks. In many industries, it’s not what you know, but who you know that often proves to be most valuable. If you have an idea for a business, an extended network can greatly help you get it off the ground.

The search for a perfect mentor can start many places. Mentor site matches veterans and their families with business mentors for free one-hour phone calls. The VA also has information on mentor programs.

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