How to Mentor

Education insights

Soldiers leaving the service are given an opportunity to retrain. That retraining can be via university or trades training. For some trades, the education process is pretty simple but in most careers, the education path is more ambiguous. Would you have taken the same courses for the job you have now? Provide some insight and feedback on possible education paths. More and more universities and technical schools are giving credits for military service (that included leadership training) so factor this in.

Help them grow

The change from military life to civilian is pretty stressful. One of the biggest issues with this transition is not understanding how to establish and grow within a new career field. It’s possible that your Mentee already has a job and is looking for guidance to build upon that career path. Here again, your experience and relevant history will guide you with providing feedback to your Mentee. With all things, including careers, fate favor’s the bold. Soldiers don’t advance through the ranks like you did through your career so there will be lots of questions and anxiety around how do I advance my career.

Share your network

You have a great network. Being a mentor means that you’re able to share some of that network with the Mentee. Provide introductions, point them towards opportunities and give them some inside knowledge. Soldiers are hard, diligent workers but while you were creating your network, they were off serving their country. Lend them the benefit of your great network.

Be patient

Being a Mentor means you have all the knowledge about the job/occupation/career. In fact you probably don’t even realize how valuable this information is because you’ve accumulated it over many years. Talking to you about your job will be like drinking from the fire-hose for the Mentee. Encourage the Mentee to articulate their aspirations for the job. Get them to focus on their career goals and then provide some insight. And remember, even if they have their goals well thought out, you have the relevant experience that can interpret those goals into something based in reality.