Today, I want to share some advice I learned early in my Army career about keeping track of my achievements each month. As a young Second Lieutenant I was fortunate to have an amazing Battalion Commander who was results oriented and knew how to manage his career effectively. Fortunately for me, he shared his wisdom with his staff and subordinates.
One of the most valuable lessons he taught me was the importance of keeping track of your achievements each month. He explained that in any given day, week, or month, you actually accomplish a lot, but if you didn’t write it down you would probably forget most of your accomplishments. I couldn’t agree more.
I can’t tell you how many times I have seen people try to write up their Support Form and not know what to put on it. They looked like a deer staring at headlights trying to figure out what they did during the rating period. Had they followed the simple advice I am about to share with you, they could have had a stellar OER or NCOER loaded with real world accomplishments.
If you want a good OER or good NCOER, it’s up to YOU to keep track of what you do during the rating period. Don’t let your future rest on your supervisor’s ability to remember what you really did during the rating period. Here is what I recommend you do.
As a National Guard Soldier, you should spend 15 minutes at the end of every drill weekend writing down what you accomplished. Write down everything you did yourself and everything your section did. Write down real numbers, stats, awards, key figures, etc. Write down if you received an award, passed the APFT, taught a class, helped a superior, did a counseling, or anything else that comes to mind.
Be as specific as possible. Use real numbers, stats, dollar amounts, etc. Once you have all of this written down, file away a copy in your Leader’s Book and give your boss a copy.
If you do this after every drill weekend, you will have 12 sheets of paper, each with at least 5-10 accomplishments. Using these pieces of paper as a reference when you are writing your OER or NCOER makes life easy for you and your boss. All you have to do is review each month’s accomplishments, look at your list of achievements, and put the most important ones of your Support Form.
It really is that easy.
During my time in the military, I taught this technique to a lot of different Soldiers and I know that it helped them immensely. I know it can have the same impact on you.
Remember, no one cares about your career as much as you do. Be proactive and take responsibility for your own career. Write down your achievements every month, whether big or small, and keep a copy in your records. It will make life a lot easier for you when you have to put together your Support Form.
What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.
Former Army Major (resigned)
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3 thoughts on “Secret Tip for Preparing Your Army NCOER or OER Support Form”
In the same way that no one cares about your career as much as you do, no one cares about your achievements as much as you do! Keep track of them! Don’t rely on anyone else, no matter how responsible they seem to be, to remember the things you have achieved. That is your work, your business. You are in charge of making sure your OER/NCER Support Forms are filled out accurately and contain all of the information that they should. Preparing your Support Form is also an act of confidence building. When you consistently keep track of your accomplishments, you can look back through your file and be amazed at what you’ve done.
Excellent advice. As a supervisor I can't tell you how difficult it is to fill out a performance report when your troop is standing in front of you trying to remember what they did that year.
A notebook or a quick few sentences in your smartphone is all it takes. It's amazing how much time this will save you. Plus the fact you will get an accurate recollection of what you did that year. Remember to add in things you did off duty that could have a positive impact on your report.
Writing things down really is the key to success to prepare your support form. If you keep track of your personal and professional achievements each month, you would be absolutely amazed at what you accomplished over the period of one year. This applies to NCOERs and OERs.