Here at Part Time Commander, we are always searching for ways and words to help you on your career journey as an Officer in the United States Army, the Army National Guard or the Army Reserves. If you scan around the website, you can find a wide range of tips, tricks and advice to make your career as an Army Officer easier.
I am attempting to add to the advice for future Army Officers in today’s post. I will provide you with the top 10 tips for future Army Officers. Please share these with those individuals who have voiced the probabilities of entering the Army Officer ranks.
1: Get In, And Stay In Good Physical Condition
The Army has physical fitness standards. You should not wait to join the Army to start getting into good physical shape. Start now! You can do daily exercises and get yourself into a condition in which passing the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) will be easy. The events for the APFT are push ups, sit ups and a 2 mile run. All 3 of these should be a part of your daily exercise regiment.
2: Learn What The Primary Job Of An Army Officer Is
The true job of an Army Officer is leader development and planning, along with training. It is wise to understand this before stepping into the Army Officer ranks. The majority of the time will be planning. For some, this may seem boring and maybe it is, but the fact is: failing to plan is planning to fail. I suggest you talk with other Army Officers. By finding out from them what they like and don’t like, it will help you truly decide if being an Army Officer is what you desire for a career. Also, the next tip goes right in line with this tip.
3: Find A Mentor
Find a retired or highly experienced Army Officer to learn from. Going right along with #2, pick their brain and learn all you can about being an Officer in the United States Army. It could be a family member, friend or just put out “feelers” at the local VFW, but having a mentor can help you learn things others who are becoming Officers will not yet know. You will have a strong advantage which can make promotions come faster.
4: Be Wise In Choosing Your Army Branch
I wrote a post about the various branches Officers have to choose from in the Army. The branch you choose will be your life either for a career in the Army, or your experience that will lead you to a career after the Army. You want a branch you will enjoy and that will be fulfilling to you. I suggest you read that post about the various branches here.
5: Make A Career Plan
While #4 is a part of this tip, it goes even deeper. I suggest you write down your career goals for the next year, 5 years, 10 years and life. Detail when you want to make higher rank, and find the steps you need to take to attain those ranks. As I said earlier, failing to plan is planning to fail. By writing out your career plan, you are more apt to follow that plan.
6: Seek More Education
No matter what, you can never have too much education. A great part about being an Officer in the U.S. Army is: you can get free education. If you have a Bachelors, start working towards a Masters. Take the classes that are offered to you. Always be a sponge and accept any education you can. My Grandpa used to tell me that if you don’t learn something new each day, it was a wasted day. Don’t let any of your days be a waste.
7: Prepare And Expect Politics
Many wish it wasn’t so, but there are politics in the area of Army Officers. There are some who will “stab” others in the back to make themselves look good. The best advice I can give in this is to try and stay out of the politics, and dot your i’s and cross your t’s. If you follow the Army’s guidelines and stay out of the Army Officer politics, you should be fine.
8: Stay Positive
As with any career, there will be ups and downs. It is proven that those who keep a positive mental attitude usually get through the down times in much better shape than those who get negative. With this, keep your morality. It is good to stand your ground on your moral convictions, and as an Army Officer, you will gain respect for doing so.
9: Plan Your Financial Future
As an Army Officer, you will make a good salary, but debt can kill that salary quickly. Be wise with your finances. There are many great people who offer wonderful financial advice on living debt free and managing your finances correctly. Make a financial plan and follow it.
10: Lead By Example
The best leaders are the ones who are willing to do the same work they are asking their soldiers to do. Just because you have an Officer rank does not mean you have the respect of others. Respect is earned and not pinned on a uniform. Your team will know if you are the type who is willing to do the same thing you are asking them to do. Be that kind of leader and you will have the respect you deserve.
These are the Top 10 Tips For Future Army Officers, that I have to offer. Do you have any other tips that you would like to see here? Do you have any questions? You can post them in the comments area below.
For reference sake, you may want to visit these links and read them. You can never learn too much. Good luck on your path of becoming a United States Army Officer.
Gervais encourages cadets to lead by example
Advice for new Lieutenants