Today, I want to share some career advice for Army First Lieutenants. I’m going to share seven things you should do as a First Lieutenant that can really help you with your Army Career. Please keep in mind this is just my opinion based upon my personal experience. Let’s get started.
1. Stay at the Company Level
As a First Lieutenant, it would be in your best interest to stay at the Company Level, either as a Platoon Leader or Company XO. Don’t be tempted to take a staff position at the battalion or brigade. Get as much troop experience as you can. These are still your “formative”years in the Army and you won’t get much troop time after this, so enjoy it and use it your advantage.
2. Get Some Experience as a Company XO
If at all possible, you want to spend some time as a Company XO. Even if it is just a short six month assignment, DO IT. This is a very important job to have before you ever become a Company Commander, so do what you can to secure this job.
3. Finish BOLC If You Haven’t Done So Yet
Most Lieutenants finish BOLC/OBC as a 2LT. If you are behind the power curve, get it done! You need it to get promoted to CPT and the skills you learn at BOLC will be very beneficial in your job.
4. Try to Get Airborne, Air Assault and Other Schools
Now is the time to get the military schools you want. Whether it is Airborne, Air Assault, Sapper, Ranger, SF, or anything else, now is the time to get it done. Decide what schools you want and talk to your boss about getting a slot for one of these military schools.
5. Start Building Your Network
As a 1LT, you want to expand your network. You want to start meeting influential people inside and outside of your military organization. Get your name out there. Join some associations. Volunteer for ADOS. Go to the big events. Help out your peers. Meet people outside of your organization. Get some business cards made and hand them to everyone you meet.
6. Pursue a Graduate Degree
Having a Master’s Degree is not mandatory for promotion to Captain, but having one is a great way to separate yourself from your peers. Research some online and local colleges and see what type of degree programs they offer. This will help you in your civilian and military career. In most cases, you can use your GI Bill or Tuition Assistance, so it shouldn’t cost you anything out of pocket.
7. DO NOT Take Company Command
I say this a lot on my website, but you DO NOT want to take command as a 1LT. Yes, you could probably get the job done and do pretty well. What you don’t have is the experience! And experience is very important when you are in charge of 100+ Soldiers. You want the maturity and military leadership experience under your belt before you even consider command. I wouldn’t recommend Company Command until you have been a Captain at least one to two years.
There you have it folks. These are 7 pieces of career advice for Army First Lieutenants. What do you think? What is the best advice you can share with others? Leave a comment below to tell me what you think.