If you are a military spouse who has completed the first two lifecycle phases of the Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program - Career Exploration and Education and Training - you are now ready to venture into the next lifecycle phase: Employment Readiness. In this lifecycle phase, you will begin to develop and improve your employment skills to advance your career. Did you know that more professionals these days are actively seeking the help of mentors, who can guide, direct and advise them in learning about their career field?
Mentoring is a relationship between two people who are seeking mutually beneficial professional and personal development. Although the mentor is usually an experienced individual who shares knowledge, experience and advice with a less experienced protégé, both individuals have positive growth experiences. A mentoring partnership, based on mutual respect and trust, may be between two people within the same company, industry, organization or network.
Benefits of mentoring
Mentors become trusted advisers and role models supporting and encouraging their protégés by providing information, suggestions and knowledge, both general and specific. The benefits of mentoring may include:
- Receiving valuable advice. Mentors can offer valuable insight into your career field. They can help you decide the best courses of action for situations you may encounter and can teach you how to work more effectively.
- Developing your knowledge and skills. Mentors can assist you in identifying the knowledge and skills that will help you advance in your career field.
- Improving your communication skills. Mentors can teach you the language of your career field and develop ways for you to communicate effectively with others in occupations of particular interest.
- Learning new perspectives. By working with someone more experienced in your career field, you will learn new ways of thinking that will help in your work life as well as your personal life. Because you may be new to your career, your perspective may offer your mentor an opportunity to see your career field from a fresh point of view as well.
- Building your network. Mentors can help you expand your existing network of personal and professional contacts.
Advancing your career. Mentors can help you stay focused on your career path by offering information about upward mobility opportunities, fellowships, shadowing experiences, inter-agency exchange programs and leadership development programs.
Finding a mentor
In recent years, many organizations have expanded their programs to provide mentoring services to veterans and military families. Some mentoring programs require a specific time commitment or a specific number of communications per month for the relationship to be beneficial to each participant. Some programs require participants to meet face-to-face and others support a virtual format. Take some time to explore each program listed below and find the right program fit for you.
- The MilSpouse eMentor Leadership Program provides a dynamic online community where spouses can connect with experienced spouses, career mentors and employers to receive career guidance, advice and support.
- Joining Forces for Women Veterans and Military Spouses Mentoring Plus provides resources, mentors, subject matter experts and online connections to help military spouses obtain meaningful employment and build their careers.
- In Gear Career local chapters provide career-minded spouses with networking opportunities, professional development programs, community involvement and peer-to-peer mentoring.
- Blue Star Spouse Professional Networks, created in conjunction with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Hiring Our Heroes program, help all military spouse professionals share professional information, network and get the scoop on state licensing requirements across the country in three targeted groups: Blue Star Educators, Blue Star Health Care Professionals and Blue Star Entrepreneurs.
- Military Spouse Foundation provides one-on-one mentoring, community discussions and expert forums with a focus on career planning and entrepreneurship.
Explore your options for requesting a mentor or volunteering to become a mentor today.
The SECO certified career counselors are ready to assist you in all areas of career exploration, education and training, employment readiness and career connections. Call 800-342-9647 or visit MySECO
for additional information.