New Online Career Resource For Military Spouses

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

U.S. Chamber of CommerceHiring Our Heroes, Toyota, and Blue Star Families Launch First-of-its-kind Online Career Resource for Military Spouses

Career Spark Creates Powerful Skills-Based Resume to Help Highly Mobile Military Spouses Overcome Roadblocks to Employment

CAMP PENDLETON, CA—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes program, Toyota, and Blue Star Families today introduced Career Spark, a first-of-its-kind online tool that gives military spouses the resume they need to start and maintain a meaningful career.

Career Spark walks military spouses through developing a resume based on their unique skills. Once completed, spouses have the option to make their resumes searchable to thousands of employers nationwide looking for qualified veteran and military spouse candidates. Hundreds of military spouses heard the announcement at a Hiring Our Heroes military spouse job fair today at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, just outside San Diego, California.

“Career Spark is a tool that will change the way military spouses look at their experience,” said Noreen O’Neil, director of the Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouse Program. “As an Army spouse for nearly two decades, I know firsthand the obstacles spouses face as working professionals. Career Spark is designed to help them realize their extraordinary skills and experience to find and keep a meaningful career.”

“While members of the military put on the uniform, they are not the only ones who serve,” said Gabrielle Giffords, former Congresswoman, military spouse, and honorary chairwoman of the Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouse Employment Advisory Council. “Military spouses are some of the strongest and most qualified candidates an employer could ask for. Career Spark will provide a valuable tool to help them build their careers.”

Hiring Our Heroes and Toyota, its partner in this initiative since its outset in 2011, commissioned Washington D.C.-based marketing agency iostudio to develop the tool, which factors in volunteer experience, education, and military lifestyle and translates them into an attractive, skills-based resume. Career Spark also reveals new job opportunities that spouses may not initially realize are available to them. It also connects the user with virtual networks that can be maintained while moving through military assignments or transitioning out of active-duty service.

Similar to its companion tool the Personal Branding Resume Engine for veterans and transitioning service members, Career Spark has been tested and reviewed by human resource directors and recruiters in many sectors, and ranging from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, as well as by military spouses. It is available free of charge for male and female spouses of active-duty service members, veterans, National Guard, and reserve components, as well as surviving military spouses.

“Military spouses are the unsung heroes, the backbone of support, behind our Armed Forces, and they deserve the same level of support we provide to our service members and veterans,” said Ed Laukes, vice president, marketing performance and guest experience for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc. “That’s why Toyota is honored to partner with Hiring Our Heroes on the development of this career resource, which will help interested military spouses market their valuable skills to employers.”

Career Spark takes spouses through the process of building a resume with the understanding that life in the military can be a great strength for these women and men who exhibit higher than average self-motivation, flexibility, and commitment. For example, the user’s volunteer experience – often full-time roles that require personnel management, budgeting, and event planning skills – is translated into practical work experience. In addition, military caregivers frequently receive training in patient advocacy and benefits claims, all courses that Career Spark takes into account as education.

“Being a military spouse means constantly juggling a lot of different demands and responsibilities, responding to shifting priorities and working well under pressure, all skills that employers find valuable,” said Noeleen Tillman, Managing Director of Blue Star Families. “Career Spark helps military spouses translate those skills and many others into resumes that resonate with civilian hiring managers. The tool also offers tips and support for the entire application and interview process and we know the Blue Star Families members will find it incredibly useful.”

Hiring Our Heroes launched in March 2011 as a nationwide initiative to help veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses find meaningful employment. Working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s vast network of state and local chambers and other strategic partners from the public, private and nonprofit sectors, Hiring Our Heroes has helped hundreds of thousands of veterans and military spouses find meaningful employment. And as a direct result of more than 680 job fairs in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia, 21,600 men and women have been hired by more than 1,500 businesses. 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USCCF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness by addressing developments that affect our nation, our economy, and the global business environment.