A Defense Department initiative is making its way across the country, offering free job-seeking services to the military near the spaces they live and work.
Sgt. Angela Hughes, Warrior Transition Brigade, visited the Hero2Hired mobile job van and signed up for the job search portal Jan. 28 at the Fort Hood Warrior Transition Campus.
“It’s so much easier than Monster or USAJobs,” Hughes said of the Hero2Hired job portal. “It takes the guesswork out of it ... and builds your confidence.”
She is searching for job opportunities in Central Texas in advance of her transition out of the Army this spring after more than 15 years of service.
The Heroes2Hired mobile van parked at Fort Hood on Jan. 28 and 29. The van’s first visit to Fort Hood was a success, seeing 437 visitors — 80 percent military and 20 percent veterans and spouses.
“Today, they walked through the process of how to search for jobs in the database,” said Anthony Thomas, brigade transition coordinator.
The average person spends seven to 15 minutes in the van, though some will stay on-site and apply for jobs, said Sgt. Maj. Wayne L. Bowser, senior enlisted adviser for Hero2Hired. The project, active the past 25 months, is funded by the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program, making it free for all users.
At this time, 3.7 million jobs, nationwide, are listed on the site, stemming from 21,000 employers. About 170,000 people are searching for employment on the site. Job seekers encouraged to use the service include active duty service members of any branch, spouses, National Guard and Reserve, retirees and veterans.
It takes 90 seconds or less to sign up for the search site, Bowser said.
A key feature of the Hero2Hired job portal is its military translator.
“Soldiers can enter their military occupation specialty code or Air Force specialty code and the service translates that to see what jobs link with it,” Bowser said.
Several ways to search
Like traditional job search engines, searches are also performed by location or interest. The program provides career recommendations, to help individuals understand and find national salaries to their job titles, said Bowser, who travels with the van 225 days a year.
In addition, the project coordinates with job fairs and hiring events to reach potential employees.
It combines the work of nearly 300 employer transition network personnel and 4,900 employer support volunteers.
Thomas Payne is one member of this network. He is a transition employment liaison with Fort Hood’s Army Career and Alumni Program, essentially serving as a personal case manager for job seekers.
“When people sign up, I have 24 hours (to reach out to them),” he said. His assistance includes resume and interview help, which he can provide in person, over the phone and online.
“There’s no limitations on the time frame I can help people in,” Payne said. “Everyone (here) has been unemployed at some point.” He encourages soldiers and affiliates to utilize these cost-free services.
Hughes recently completed a two-day workshop on resume writing with the brigade, organized by Thomas. With the portal, she will be able to utilize her improved resume to apply for a number of jobs.
“Once you have a strong resume, you don’t have to go in and change it to fit each job description,” she said, a benefit which saves job seekers time and energy.
Potential job seekers can sign up with the portal at www.h2h.jobs.
“I’m just excited about this,” Thomas said. “Hopefully more soldiers will (participate) and spouses too.”