Some of the most helpful Army advice I can give you is to “diversify your job experience.” What I mean by that is that you should do a wide variety of different jobs throughout your Army career to “round out” your experience in order to make you more marketable to the Army and to civilian employers when you are finished with the Army.
Many NCOs and Officers make the common mistake of only having one MOS or one career field. This really limits their opportunities for upward mobility, especially in the ARNG and USAR. Most of the successful Officers and NCOs that I’ve personally met had at least two different MOSs and two or more career fields. You should consider doing the same thing if you want to move up through the ranks quickly.
In the paragraphs below, I want to share a few simple things you can do to diversify your job experience in the ARNG or USAR.
# 1 Bounce Around Units and Jobs
Don’t make the popular mistake of staying in one unit for a long period of time. Even if you love your unit, you need to move around to meet new people, learn new skills and round out your experience. While I am a big fan of being a “line” Soldier, it’s also important to have staff jobs and work in non-deployable units from time-to-time. Try not to stay in one job or one unit more than 24 months.
# 2 Get a Second MOS
One of the best things you can do to advance your career is get a second MOS. Before you pick a second MOS, do yourself a favor and look at the state’s manning roster. Find out which MOS’s offer the most upward mobility. The sooner you can get a second MOS, the better. Let’s face it, some MOS‘s have very limited upward mobility. The last thing you want to do is get stuck at your current rank because there aren’t any open positions above you.
# 3 Try New Career Fields
I recommend you have at least two career fields. The most common career field is operations. This includes positions in deployable, combat units. These are the core positions in the Army and they are very important. In addition to having an operational background, try to get some additional experience in any of the following career fields:
- Inspector General
- Retention NCO
- Drill Sergeant
- Information Operations
- Or Anything Else That May Interest You!
By participating in some of these career fields, you will get new opportunities, you will learn new skills, and you might be able to advance your career even quicker.
Whenever I supervised troops during my career, I always tried to teach them this advice. The bottom line is “don’t be a one shot wonder.” Diversify your job experience as much as possible. When you do, you have a huge advantage over someone else who has done the same thing their entire Army career.
What are your thoughts? If you have comments or questions, you can post them below. Thanks.