Former Recruiter Pens Inspirational How-To Guide
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sep. 28, 2005 When it comes to shaping the face of the armed forces, few people have as significant and direct a role as the recruiters who fill the ranks.
Army Capt. August Murray wrote "Military Recruiting" to help recruiters carry out what he calls one of the most important jobs in the military. Courtesy photo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
That's the thinking of an Army captain who recently wrapped up four years as a recruiter and penned his thoughts on the subject in a new book that's part how-to manual and part motivational guide.
"Military Recruiting," contains lessons, tips and advice Capt. August Murray picked up during four successful years of recruiting for the New Hampshire National Guard that earned him the Master Recruiting Badge.
The book is designed to share those insights with recruiters who have what Murray calls one of the most challenging but also most important jobs in the military.
Murray encourages recruiters to think of recruiting duty as "a personal calling" that he calls "the best job in the U.S. military and the best job in the world."
And despite what he perceives as negative coverage of their work by the national media, Murray said, recruiters play a major role in sustaining the armed forces' fighting strength.
Few other jobs, he said, have as direct an impact on the quality of the men and women who enter the military and the ability to change the lives of the young people they work with.
"Recruiting is a life-changing business," said Murray, who now serves as an instructor for the University of New Hampshire's Army ROTC Battalion. "Recruiters literally change the lives of their recruits. I hope they realize what a wonderful opportunity they have to make a difference."
Good recruiters wear a wide range of hats: serving as mentors, coaches, advisors, advocates and role models to the young people they deal with, Murray said. Filling those multiple roles demands extensive skills: people and communication skills, marketing know-how and technical proficiency among them, he said.
To help recruiters hone those skills, Murray's book offers a back-to-basics approach to recruiting duty that encourages recruiters to identify their strengths and weaknesses and "find out what works best for them," he said.
Murray's book was released at a time when military recruiting is slowly rebounding from a summertime slump that particularly hurt the active Army, Army Reserve and Army National Guard. Defense officials say they're cautiously optimistic that the trend will continue, but acknowledge that the Army could fall short of its year-end recruiting goals.
Despite that assessment, Murray said, he's confident recruiters have the tools they need to succeed in their jobs: a sizeable pool of potential applicants, attractive enlistment incentives and a commendable recruiter-training program to help prepare them for the job.
But, as hokey as it may sound to some people, Murray said, recruiters' most convincing incentive is the opportunity to serve in the U.S. armed forces.
Murray encourages recruiters to get the word about that opportunity out to as broad an audience as possible, even treading into environments they typically steer clear of, such as college campuses.
"The number-one reason people join the military is to serve in the military," he said.
Throughout its history, in peacetime and during war, the United States has had a solid tradition of people who want to serve, he said.
"Many people, young prospective members of the armed forces, believe in the armed forces and are willing to join," Murray said. "But the bottom line, something it's critical that recruiters understand, is that they have to be asked."
Murray's Web site, www.militaryrecruiting.us, provides more details about Military Recruiting and ordering instructions. All proceeds from the book go to the Armed Forces Foundation, which supports wounded servicemembers and their families.
In the meantime, Murray plans to post a version of the manuscript on his Web site that servicemembers can download without charge later today.