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Veterati Mentorship - a Lifebuoy for Military Veterans

November 08, 2017 - Posted to Resume Tips

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It all began with messages between two individuals on LinkedIn. A separated Marine, Daniel Rau, and Diana Rau have a conversation about how difficult it can be for military service members to secure career positions once they return to civilian life. They come up with a plan to mentor six of their fellow separated Marines, providing career advice and job-hunting strategies over a two-week period. In the course of their work with these friends, they discover that over 1.5 million veterans separated since 2001 are having the same types of difficulties.

One of the most important realities from this research was that about 80% of open job positions are never advertised. They are filled through networking activities. So, how can skilled veterans and these un-advertised positions be matched? By giving these veterans opportunities to find them and prepare to go after them.

Mentoring Network – The Best Decision for Military Veterans

Think about it. Service members are out of civilian society for various lengths of time, and things change in career and job markets during that time. They return unsure of how their skills may transfer to civilian positions and equally unsure of just how to proceed in looking for a meaningful job.

How valuable would it be for them to have mentors in a variety of career fields who could provide career advice, job hunting and interviewing coaching, resume writing assistance, and strategies for networking and locating those positions that are never advertised? The answer is extremely valuable.

These two teamed up with other fellow veterans, and Veterati was founded for just such a purpose.

A Noble Purpose of the Mentorship Platform

Veterati has teamed up with many partners in the effort to achieve its goal of securing meaningful employment for veterans. According Director of Development, Evan Guzman, the platform is digital – allowing veterans and their spouses to connect with business and career professionals who are volunteer mentors. They do this via phones.

In a recent interview, he summed is up as follows:

“One of the biggest challenges our U.S. service members and military spouses face when preparing to enter the civilian jobs market is hearing back from companies or finding the answers to common job-related questions. The number one resource that our transitioning service members, veterans and military spouses have is other people. Us. You. If you are a business professional, educator, or business owner and believe in supporting our military community in ways that truly matter, Veterati offers you an opportunity to say more than ‘Thank you for your service.’”

Simple but Effective Model of Collaboration    

Veterati teams up with a variety of partners, such as veterans’ organization and business leaders to spread the word and recruit both mentees and mentors. They sign up at the Veterati website, through a LinkedIn account.

Mentors fill out a short questionnaire and then provide a schedule of times when they can participate in one-hour long phone calls with assigned mentees.

Mentees sign up, indicating specific industries, mentor expertise, or specific companies in which they have an interest.

The Veterati algorithms then match mentors and mentees. Once that happens, the calls are book and both receive reminders of the first call.

Veterati makes the calls and puts the mentor and mentee in contact. Neither one has to disclose any personal contact information unless they choose to do so. Each “partner” completes a short survey at the end of the call.

That’s it.

Mutual Benefits for Mentees and Mentors

Both parties in this model reap great benefits from their participation

For Mentees

  1. They receive advice and counsel from professional who are actually “in the trenches” and can guide based upon that experience

  2. Mentors may have lines on job opportunities – those 80% that are not advertised – and may be able to provide introductions

  3. Mentors can help mentees prepare their resumes and complete applications that are professional and polished

  4. Mentors can provide strategies for successful interviewing

  5. Mentors can provide resources for networking

For Mentors

  1. All of us, no matter what our political affiliations, appreciate the job that our military personnel do. There are very few ways to express our appreciation for their sacrifices. But one of these ways is to serve them as a career mentor when they return. It’s a way to “give back” in a tangible way.

  2. Most of us like the personal satisfaction that comes when we help others. And if they can share their experience and their expertise to help a qualified, skilled individual land a career position, it’s a real “feel good” moment.

  3. Many mentors find that in helping others, they also learn a great deal more about themselves and their abilities to establish solid professional relationships with others. Many report that the experience has made them better leaders in their own workplaces.

With 1.5 million veterans returning to civilian life and with many of them either unemployed or under-employed, the mission and activities of Veterati are providing a service to those veterans and their spouses. More than that, this organization is providing a great service to businesses enterprises and society – both of whom benefit from the skills, work ethic, and contributions that these individuals can make.

The Technology Makes Veterati Unique

One of the best features of Veterati is that it provides an almost seamless and effective method to achieve career counseling and advice. While traditional methods have often included making appointments, traveling to employment counseling sites, waiting, and then making arrangements to physically return for an additional session.

Veterati has eliminated all of this hassle. By establishing a digital platform to achieve the career counseling and advice functions, and by providing the flexibility for both mentor and mentee to determine times that are mutually beneficial, even nights and weekends, this platform has greater user ease.

The other technology that provides greater benefits are the algorithms that match mentee needs with mentor skills/experience in a much more efficient way. When veterans go to career counseling centers, they are assigned to a generalist – not someone with specific background and experience in their areas of interest. While these generalists may have some expertise in job search activity, they do not have the “real world” experience that those in career positions have. When technology provides clear matches, the mentoring will have far better outcomes.

The Current and Future Position of Veterati

Veterati is already responsible for thousands of successful job placements of veterans and their spouses. It has a bright future, because, quite simply, it works. And as media, enterprises, and veterans’ organizations continue to see the value of this model, they are continuing to come on board with support.

Veterati has a bright future – but the brightest future will be for those veterans and spouses who will find their job searches far more effective and for the mentors who will have the satisfaction of being of great service