What makes me different from the average American? I was a Marine sniper that was deployed twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan. Most people don't realize that military service is something that less than eight percent of Americans can put on their resumes. For someone in their mid-20s, like me, that percentage is even smaller. In this tough economy, the unique experiences and skills gained as a result of military service can be the one thing that sets veterans apart from other job seekers.
Through my work with Hiring Our Heroes, I've attended many hiring fairs across the country, and there is one thing that I learned right away. In the course of a day, an HR recruiter may see over 100 resumes. The resumes that rise to the top are the ones that stand out. These are the resumes that market a candidate with a distinct background and a distinct brand. For veterans, our military service is our brand, and when we leave the military that brand should be built into every resume that goes out.
The problem is that most of us are simply not in the habit of explaining our skills and training to civilians. After President Obama presented me with the Medal of Honor, I found myself doing interviews and appearances several times a day. Over time, and with a bit of help, I learned to articulate my time in the service without using the technical language and endless acronyms we become so familiar with in the military. It was during this time that I learned the importance of personal branding -- the ability to translate military experience into a brand that resonates with businesses of every size and industry.
This is one aspect of post-military life that all veterans seem to struggle with. Now there is something that can help. This week, Hiring Our Heroes and Toyota launched the Personal Branding Resume Engine, an online tool that goes beyond typical MOS (military occupational specialty) translation and takes into account all of the skills, training, and accomplishments a person has achieved in the military. In addition to a physical resume and business card, the Resume Engine provides users with the language needed for the 90-second pitch that can be used when talking to employers at a job fair or networking event.
I'll be honest that I was a little skeptical when we first started developing the tool. There are a lot of MOS translators out there that promise to be a silver bullet. I have tried more than a few, and unfortunately, many of them just don't cut it. Some of them only include skills and dismiss the training that went into them. Some churn out a product that is more technical than the language entered. Needless to say, when I sat down to give the Resume Engine a try I was prepared to be skeptical but I was immediately impressed with what I saw.
The Resume Engine went far beyond what I expected. It takes into account every branch, rank, specialty, training course, course rank, medal, honor and more. There is even a page where users can select military ribbons and it will arrange them right in front of you in the correct order of precedence before adding them to the resume.
And don't just take it from me. Before launch, this was tested with dozens of HR recruiters as well as the very veterans and transitioning servicemembers who will benefit from it. That feedback has been instrumental in developing the most comprehensive tool possible. The feedback we heard time and time again was that this was different than any resume builder veterans had used before.
I firmly believe this tool is a game-changer for veterans, and in this difficult economy and competitive job market, it is exactly what we need. If you are a veteran looking for work or an active duty servicemember transitioning out of the military, I encourage you to give the Resume Engine a try and share it with your friends. It could help you or a friend get the job that you deserve.