“If I had to give a transitioning serviceman or a veteran a piece of advice, the first piece of advice would be do a self-assessment. You have to be able to do an inventory of your own skills,” says Ken Mayes, employer relations navigator at Syracuse University’s D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF).
WorkingNation sat down with Mayes at the NASWA Veterans Conference in Washington, D.C.
As the employer relations navigator, his primary responsibility is to work with employers to create pathways to employment for all of the IVMF program participants from career preparation, entrepreneurship, to community services.
Mayes, who served 26 years in the U.S. Army before retiring, says that once a veteran assesses what skills they have to offer an employer, “you are able to manage areas that may need improvement, but you are also able to leverage that strength, all the strengths that you have, that you can help navigate into a particular space.”
He also mentions that networking and job shadowing are crucial as transitioning veterans find their next career paths. “It’s not something you can read up on, you have to go through it just like basic training, to fully understand what the expectations are going to be.”
Learn more about Syracuse University’s D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families