More than three dozen Military District of Washington servicemembers and reservists attempted to sharpen a tool in order to add an edge to their job-searching skills March 2 at the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Community Center.

A resume workshop, sponsored by a Department of Defense contractor and the USO (United Service Organizations), put servicemembers to work on a Saturday morning to tweak and fine tune their written work histories.

"I am in the National Guard, and I am deployed to the NCR [National Capital Region] for a year-long deployment. I leave at the end of May, so I'll be returning home to Ohio, and I need to seek a job when I get back," Army 2nd Lt. Kristin Cruikshank, who is stationed at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, said of her job searching circumstance. "I'm just starting to apply for jobs now, and I want to make sure my resume is written properly."

The seminar leader, Verna Staggers, a senior recruiting manager, detailed a number of facts on how resumes get ignored or discarded. While she walked the 40 participants from the beginning-to-end process of assembling a resume, she mentioned a human resource agent or prospective employer spends less than a half minute viewing the average resume. The workshop also covered the importance of incorporating popular key words into a resume-writing strategy.

"With technology [today], you really have to hit hard on certain key words because a lot of companies use software programs today to pick out those key words," Staggers said. "If the words aren't on your resume, you're not going to get noticed."

Employment tip seminars will continue to be held quarterly at either Fort Belvoir or JBM-HH, and an emphasis is being placed on offering resume writing webinars, which are scheduled to commence during the month of March. Additionally, new job-search topics may be introduced include networking for a job and transitioning military skills into civilian employment.

The free, one-hour resume workshop is part of USO's Holding Down the Homefront program. To learn more about the webinar and future HDTH workshops, contact the USO on JBM-HH at 703-969-2628.