Everyone needs a mentor, whether in military or civilian life. Selecting and building a solid relationship with a mentor can tilt the scales in your favor and help you find a successful second career when the time comes.
A good mentor is a teacher, someone who can challenge you, inspire you and encourage you to do your best. Mentors can help build your confidence and lead you to job opportunities you didn’t realize were available. They are familiar with a range of professional opportunities and are guides who foster the growth of new professionals.
The best mentors help you develop the insight and self-awareness necessary to integrate your professional and military life, personal concerns and core values.
Finding a good mentor isn't always easy for a transitioning service member. Pick someone in the civilian world who you want to emulate, someone who excites you and gets you going and with whom you feel comfortable. Mentors are people with whom you can share triumphs, defeats and new ideas, receiving, in turn, guidance, a nonjudgmental audience and constructive criticism.
Take the initiative and set up an “icebreaker” meeting with someone you think would make a great mentor. Look for mentors in competencies relevant to your second-career goals.
- Is he or she encouraging and respectful of your goals?
- Do you receive regular feedback?
- Does your mentor facilitate your participation in professional organizations?
- Can your mentor provide you with professional networks?
- Can you communicate easily with your mentor?
- Do you respect him or her?
Take a minute to consider the professional benefits of mentoring. To learn more about NAVAIR's Mentoring Program, visit https://mentoring.navair.navy.mil or contact Donna Belcher, NAVAIR’s mentoring program manager, at 301-342-5096. If you have a personal mentoring success story to share, contact Veronica Miskowski at 301-757-8391 or Lonnie Snead at 301-757-8252; we’d love to hear from you.