In combat, a sniper's goal is to become a needle in a haystack. Marksmanship is only a piece of the puzzle. Whether I was in the Sierra Nevada Mountains or the deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan, stealth was not just a tool -- it was the objective. Before I became a Marine sniper, I spent months learning to tread softly and blend in to my environment, skills that have saved my life more than once.
When I transitioned out of the military, however, it didn't take long to see that my objective needed to change. To be successful as a civilian, I had to go in the opposite direction of my training -- I needed to make myself standout.
With less than eight percent of Americans having served in the armed forces, your military service already makes your resume unique. Now you have to make sure it gets in front of the right people. Standing out -- not stealth -- should be the new strategy of every veteran and transitioning servicemember searching for a career after the military. How can an employer hire you if they can't find you?
Employers are looking for men and women who have proven skills like leadership, discipline, and problem-solving. Who better than the men and women who have served in uniform? I've spent over a year now working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Hiring Our Heroes and Toyota to get my fellow veterans hired through job fairs and online efforts. This means that over the course of that year, I've been in numerous rooms with countless people whose only job is to recruit veterans.
With this in mind, our team launched the Personal Branding Resume Engine, an online tool that helps veterans market all of the skills they gained in the military to civilian employers. But helping veterans brand themselves for employers was only the first part of our effort. The endgame is to connect these men and women with the recruiters that are searching for them. Well, I am proud to report that this week we've taken the next step forward by introducing a first-of-its-kind, free employer search feature as part of the Resume Engine. This new option allows veteran users to add their completed resumes to a searchable database. Companies looking to fill open positions can then search that resume bank for candidates that fit their job qualifications, at absolutely no cost.
As a veteran, I know that the talent of my fellow servicemembers is without question. But as a business owner, I have found that it can be not just challenging, but also expensive, to find good candidates. One of the primary reasons I started my own business -- Dakota Meyer Enterprises -- was to put veterans back to work. Through my advocacy and experience though, I've found that it's not always an option for a small business owner to close up shop and attend a hiring fair or to put critical cash into purchasing access to job banks. By making the Resume Engine's new search feature free-of-charge, we're hoping to level the playing field and create opportunity for businesses of every size to have access to this incredible pool of talent.
When President Obama presented me with the Medal of Honor in 2011, I felt like my Commander-in-Chief was giving me a new charge. I firmly believe I have a responsibility to help as many of my fellow veterans and their families succeed after their years of sacrifice. I've said time and time again -- if you want to help a veteran, hire one. But now I find myself saying something equally true, if not more so -- if you want to help your business, hire a veteran. I encourage veterans and employers to check out the latest version of the Resume Engine and let's keep working together to make a difference in the employment issues facing our military families and our great country.