Tips on Getting the Military Jobs You Want

Today, I want to educate you about getting the military jobs you want and need during your military career.  Many people will disagree with my advice and I am ok with that!  My hope is to inspire and educate a few people and help them think differently about their career.

Let me begin by telling you that most people in the Army just take the job they are given.  They normally spend 9-18 months in a job and wait for someone in their chain of command to move them into a different job.  They do this throughout their military career and have a wide variety of jobs.

I’m not knocking people who follow this method of doing things, but I personally think it is foolish.

I learned a long time ago that no one  cares about your career as much as you do.  It’s up to you to manage your career effectively and know what jobs you need and want.  And it’s up to you to seek those jobs out.

Listed below are a few tips to help you get the military jobs you need and want. I hope you find the information helpful.

# 1 Know What Jobs You Need and Want– This might sound silly, but I’d bet 90% of the people in the military don’t know what jobs they need or want. They’ve never really put much thought into it. They’ve never set career goals and mapped out their military career.  I call these folks floaters.  Initially, I was a floater myself, until I found someone to mentor me.

You have to realize that it’s YOUR career and YOUR responsibility to manage your career.  If you aren’t willing to set goals for your career, none of this advice really matters.  All of the successful officers and NCOs I’ve ever served with had a game plan for their career.  They knew what assignments they wanted, what rank they wanted to retire at, etc.  They then did their backwards planning and knew which jobs they needed along the way, to get tot their goal.

At a minimum, you should know the requirements of your branch, MOS or career field. Find someone with the same specialty you have, who is successful, and pick their brain.  You should also talk with your S1 or Career/Branch Manager for advice.

# 2 Get the Schools You Need – This one might sound like common sense, but make sure you get the schools you need so you are QUALIFIED for the jobs you want and need.  I can’t tell you how many people have missed out on good assignments because they weren’t qualified for the job.  Don’t let this happen to you.

# 3 Position Yourself for Success – You need to know WHEN the job you want and need will open up and become vacant.  For instance, if you’re waiting on a command position, and it was just filled by someone else, you will probably have to wait another 18 to 24 months MINIMUM for that position to open up.  It might be in your best interest to move to a new unit instead of waiting that long.

# 4 Network with Others – Networking (inside and outside of the military) is a reality. People promote and hire people they know, like and trust.  Make sure that you expand your network and get your name out there.  You want others to know what you bring to the table and what makes you unique.  All other things being equal, it’s the person who is well networked that will get the job.

Final Thoughts

Getting the military jobs you want and need is very easy to do if you have a game plan.  Don’t leave your military career to chance. Be proactive and manage your own career.  Determine which jobs you need and want and then come up with a game plan to get there.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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3 thoughts on “Tips on Getting the Military Jobs You Want”

  1. I can’t understand the mentality of a person who would let their career path and life be chosen for them. To be given your first assignment and then have your job chosen for you again and again every 9 to 18 months for the rest of your career is unbelievable. At that point, whose career is it? Yours or the military’s? Maybe some people like to walk with their heads down and be led by the horns, but I admire the person who walks with their head up and chooses their own direction.

  2. I'm taking this from the point of view of someone who is doing their first job in the service. At some point you need to start looking at your next job or assignment.
    Like any job you need to make sure you are qualified and this may include taking classes or staying current on tasks. (i.e. keeping a weapon rating or a CPR card)

    A very important thing to remember is this: Make sure people know you want the job. Being qualified is important, but if nobody knows you want the job it won't do you much good. Don't be overbearing, but make sure people are aware of your interest and your qualifications.

    1. That’s a great idea, letting others know what jobs you want to have. You also need to make sure you get your schools knocked out, keep your personnel records in order, keep building your network, and be darn good at what you do.

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