In today’s post, I want to share some of my best Army National Guard Officer career advice.
These are five simple things you can do to separate yourself from your officer peers in the Army National Guard.
To some of you, this might be common knowledge.
Let’s get started.
1. Be a Student of Your Profession: This is the most important piece of advice I can give any officer.
If you really want to excel with your military career, you need to be a student of your profession.
You need to read books, publications and journals about tactics, leadership, military history, your branch, communication and anything else you can find.
I recommend you read at least one book and one magazine each month.
And don’t forget to share your ideas with your subordinates.
It’s also a good idea to enroll in military classes and schools that will teach you new skills.
Attend seminars, conferences, and workshops; find a mentor, rub elbows with experienced officers and do everything you can to learn what you can about your profession.
Try to be a sponge whenever possible.
2. Get More than One Branch: In the Army National Guard, you need to have more than one branch to be competitive with your peers.
Some branches have limited upward mobility, depending upon your State.
If you have multiple branches, you can position yourself for future success.
At a minimum, you should have a combat arms and combat support/combat service support branch.
The earlier you can get your second branch the better.
What I recommend you do is choose a different Captain’s Career Course than your primary branch.
This is one of the easiest and fastest ways to get a second branch.
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3. Obtain a Master’s Degree: If possible, get your Master’s Degree finished as soon as possible.
There is an unwritten rule stating that you need it to progress through the field grade ranks.
I’m not sure if that is true or not, but most senior officers I know personally have at least one Master’s Degree (not counting the War College).
If nothing else, this is a quick way to differentiate yourself from your peers who have not finished their graduate degree yet.
4. Take the Tough Jobs No One Else Wants: Whenever possible, seek out jobs that are tough to do, that no one else wants.
Look for demanding jobs in bad units.
When you take a job, be so good at what you do that no one wants to be your replacement.
Personally, I always felt bad for the person replacing me.
I don’t say this to boast.
I just set a very high standard for them to follow.
You will quickly discover that most people don’t want to work in a tough job in a bad unit.
Instead, they are looking for a successful unit that they can “ride the coat tails” of the previous person.
5. Network: Moving ahead in any organization and career is all about networking.
After all, people promote and recommend people that they know, respect and like.
Therefore, network with other officers and high ranking NCOs.
Introduce yourself to senior field grade officers.
Get your name out there.
After all, no one cares about your career as much as you do.
The easiest way to do this is to be a superstar, so your boss (and their boss) notices.
You can also attend functions and social events in your State.
Please DO NOT confuse this with BUTT KISSING.
They are not similar.
In the Army National Guard there is the Good Ole Boy System.
You must realize that you are already part of someone’s network and other people are part of your network.
Your job is to constantly expand your network, meet new people and create a favorable impression.
In conclusion, it’s your responsibility to manage your own military career.
It’s not always the most talented people that move to the top of an organization.
Instead, it’s the person with a game-plan, a good reputation, and a large network.
If you want to move ahead in your ARNG Officer Career, I recommend you follow the advice listed above.
What are your thoughts?
What are your best career tips for ARNG Officers?
Leave a comment below to share your ideas.