Having an organized system for filing all the important information and documents pertaining to your military career is extremely important. There are many reasons to stay organized and maintain your personal records. For one, you will be able to compile packets for promotion/transfers, track down OERs, and have all of your medical and other important information at any time. No more searching endlessly for a misplaced piece of info or relying on iPERMS to maintain your records. Here are some tips for How You Can Ensure Your Military Records are Always Up to Date.
1. Start by Deciding What Filing System Works Best for You: This can be dependent on the amount of space you physically have and how much information you have to file. Perhaps a fire-safe cabinet is the best choice or maybe even a standard filing cabinet. Whatever the case, decide on where you will be storing your documents.
2. Gather Up All Your Paperwork: Pull together all your paperwork; print our your iPERM documents, grab that old folder you kept from MEPS, talk with your unit Readiness NCO to see what files they have, etc. Wherever you have documents, try your best to gather them all up into one consolidated location so you can begin organizing them.
3. Sort Your Records Into Types: Now, there is no sense in reinventing the wheel here. Personally, my military record filing system is a direct reflection on what you see on iPERMS. No matter how you decide to do it, the most important goal here is to place like items with other like items.
4. Label Each File by the Category and Place into Your File: Self explanatory here… Use colors; maybe RED for Medical, GREEN for OERs, etc. No matter what you decide, stay consistent and always put things back in their spot after using them! Create new categories if you need to as well.
5. Make Notes on Any Items that You Are Missing: Look at your iPERMS and then your physical files. What is missing? What paper documents do you have that aren’t up on iPERMS and vice versa? Taking the time to do this, after you have organized your documents of course, is very important. Many times things are lost (by both the Army and by YOU) so always make sure to identify the deficiencies.
6. DO NOT BE LAZY ABOUT STAYING ORGANIZED! This is the tip to take away from this article above all else. You have to stay proactive and ensure your records are up to date. After you complete a school, copy all of those records and prepare to file them away before you send them up to be PERM’d or make copies after you complete an SRP. Do not rely on your Readiness NCO, the Army or your S1. At the end of the day, nobody care more about you and your career than you!
Get organized, create a filing system that works for you, and stay proactive. Keeping your records organized and up to date is a very important part of career management.
If you have any questions or any added tips, you can post them in the comment area below. Thank you.