Today, I’m going to share some Army OER Tips with you.
This article is for any Army Officer looking to improve their knowledge about writing accurate, effective and fair OERs.
I wrote and proofread a lot of OERs during my military career.
I was never an S1 or AG Officer, but I do have lots of experience with OERs.
I made some mistakes, did some things right, and learned some helpful tips in the process of handling all of those OERs.
My goal today is to transfer some of that knowledge to you.
Other Posts You Might Enjoy:
- U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC): 11 Cool Facts
- Army Commander’s Maintenance Evaluation Team (COMET) Program Overview
- The Evaluator: The Comprehensive Guide for Preparing Evaluation Reports and Counselings Book Review
- Types of Mandatory Army Officer Evaluation Reports
- Secret Tip for Preparing Your Army NCOER or OER Support Form
That being said, here are my best tips.
# 1 Educate Yourself
I know, this should be common sense for most people.
Do yourself a favor and actually READ the regulations that talk about OERs.
Most of the things you will ever need to know are in the OER Regulations.
Another tip is to sit down with your S1 and pick their brain.
Take them out to lunch and ask them a bunch of questions.
You can also sit down with your rater or senior rater and see what advice they can share.
Another tip is to volunteer to give an OPD about OERs.
This will force you to do your research and educate yourself.
You can also talk to a trusted mentor and learn about OERs from them.
Just remember that it is your responsibility to educate yourself.
# 2 Keep Records of Your Achievements
Throughout the year, you should keep detailed records of your accomplishments.
You can do this weekly, monthly or quarterly.
Your goal is to record your major achievements so you can input them on your OER Support Form at a later date.
What I recommend is that you create your own OER file.
At the end of each month, write down your five to ten major accomplishments on a piece of paper and file it into your OER file.
Do this every month of your rating period and writing your OER Support Form will be very easy to do!
You see, it’s easy to forget what you accomplished during the rating period if you don’t write it down.
A year is a long time.
You would be amazed at what you accomplished in the past year if you have kept an accurate record of your accomplishments.
# 3 Draft Up Your OER Support Form
When it is time to prepare your Army OER Support Form, refer to your notes detailing your achievements.
When possible use numbers and quantifiable results.
Include operational readiness rates, Soldier promotions, extensions and any other quantifiable achievements.
Include the schools you attended, correspondence courses completed, civilian accomplishments and anything else you think is relevant.
These types of statements look much better on your Officer Evaluation Report than generic style achievements.
Ideally, you want to have a “working” OER Support Form at all times.
Once every quarter, update your OER Support Form.
Review your files with your accomplishments for the previous three months and put that information on your OER Support Form.
One month before your OER is due, spend a couple hours and tweak your Support Form.
Have a couple of peers, or a trusted mentor review it and give you feedback and guidance.
NEVER wait until the last minute to do your Support Form.
# 4 Prepare a First Draft OER for Your Supervisor
If you really want to position yourself for success, you should prepare a first draft OER for your supervisor ahead of time.
Tell them you did it to save them time (which you did).
Let them make any revisions or corrections to the Officer Evaluation Report as they see fit.
In most cases, they will appreciate the time you saved them and probably make very little changes to your OER.
This puts you in the driver’s seat and ensures your OER covers the key points that you want on it.
Encourage your subordinates to do the same for you.
Here are some sample Army OER Bullets.
# 5 Review the OER for Errors
Before signing your final OER (or anyone else’s), review it thoroughly.
Look for misspellings, errors and typos.
Make sure the administrative information is correct.
Make sure the APFT and HT/WT information is accurate on the OER.
If possible, review it once, set it down for a few hours, and then review it again before you sign it or approve it.
If possible, have someone else look it over one time to ensure it is accurate.
# 6 Address Discrepancies and Errors
If something is inaccurate or unjustified on the OER, talk with the rater or senior rater (or S1) about the comment and get it fixed, before you sign the final OER.
The rater can write whatever they want in their comments section, but if what they say is inaccurate, you have the right to address it.
You won’t always win the conversation, but it’s worth talking about.
# 7 Stay Proactive Throughout the Process
Other than educating yourself, this is the most important tip on this list.
Never, and I mean never, wait until the last minute to do your OER, or another person’s.
Stay proactive throughout the entire process.
OERs written on the last day before they are due are seldom very good or written well.
You need to put a lot of time, effort and thought into your OER (and your subordinates).
You need to give yourself time to write, edit and review OERs.
Doing it one day is a recipe for failure.
Know when the OERs are due and do your backwards planning to ensure you have a reasonable timeline for getting things done.
# 8 Appeal a Bad OER
If you ever receive a bad OER, that you feel is unjustified, you have the right to appeal the OER.
For instance, if you have a career ending OER, but never received any type of counseling (formal or informal) to back up the claims, you might consider appealing the OER.
Research the regulations and find out what your rights are to appeal the Officer Evaluation Report.
Wait 48 hours until you “cool off” and then make a logical decision about how to proceed.
Once again, it is your responsibility to manage your own Army Officer career.
One way to do that is to be proactive in the Officer Evaluation Report process.
More importantly, if you have subordinate officers working for you that you supervise, don’t forget to follow these steps with them.
One of your key responsibilities with your subordinates is to develop them and teach them new skills.
If you teach them what right looks like, they can do the same thing with their subordinates.
You should teach your subordinates about the OER process and make sure that the Officer Evaluation Report you prepare for them is accurate and justified.
In summary, the Army Officer Evaluation Report is the most important document in your personnel file.
Make sure you are proactive and follow the steps mentioned above, so you can get the best OER possible.
What are your thoughts?
What are your best tips about Army OERs?
Leave a comment and let us know.
I look forward to hearing from you.