Volunteer Spotlight: Robert
Leaving military life, there’s uncertainty, unpredictability and often confusion. But with the right guidance along the way and the support to get there, change can create opportunity. Many of our clients seize the chance to chart a new course when they begin their civilian career. That’s when volunteers like Robert Clarady play an important role. A veteran of the US Navy, he can offer insight from his own transition and speak to the lessons he’s learned working in IT in his civilian career. That kind of guidance can provide confidence during a critical time.
Working with Hire Heroes during his own career transition, Robert met with a volunteer to discuss his job search. He found the connection and insight to be beneficial and he knew once he was settled in his new role, he wanted to help in the same way. “Knowing how helpful the advice I received was and how few were available to mentor in IT and cyber, I wanted to pay it forward to the next veteran or transitioning service member,” Robert explained.
And his insight is indeed in high demand. “The fact that I have been a government contractor, a government civilian, and in [the] industry provides unique insight into each. It allows me to speak with experience [to] the hiring process, work environment, and expectations in each,” he shared. “I’ve also been fortunate to work with a diverse group of IT and cyber professionals, [so I] can help clients as they explore which career paths might be right for them.”
Throughout his military and civilian career, Robert has made it a priority to build meaningful relationships with those around him. “One of the things I enjoyed most during my military service was mentoring my junior officers and sailors,” he said. “I’m glad I get to continue mentoring through the volunteer program.” He remembers one such interaction with a veteran looking to make a change: “[The veteran client] wanted to move from government real estate to IT. It was one of those situations where I think I learned as much as the client,” Clarady remembers. “I provided advice on things to help make his transition successful and he educated me on what he did. We continue to communicate long after the session as he excels within the IT community.”
With diverse backgrounds and varied interests, no two paths are ever the same for the veterans we serve. When volunteers set aside time to have conversations that bring clarity, their impact is tangible. “The most rewarding part has been seeing the clients succeed as they start a new career,” he shared. “Seeing those successes and knowing I was able to help in some small way is what keeps me involved.”
He encourages others to consider the big and little ways they could make a positive impact on a veteran’s trajectory. “There are so many ways to help and a person can find one that fits them. For those who have the time, I encourage them to volunteer as a mentor,” he said. “It can be through one of the many veteran organizations, their company veteran program, or simply helping a veteran co-worker adjust to a new work environment.”
If he could offer a word of advice to a veteran working towards a civilian career today, he’d say: “There will be setbacks like job rejections and poor interviews. I encourage the client not to focus on the negative, but to learn from the experience and apply what they learned to the next job application or interview,” Robert says. “In the end, the clients will find the right jobs for them.”
If you would like to make a difference in the lives of veterans and military spouses, please click here to learn more about volunteering with Hire Heroes USA.