In today’s post, I want to discuss my Top 10 Army NCO Promotion Tips for USAR and ARNG NCOs. These are some simple things you can do to help you get promoted above your peers. They are listed in no particular order.
# 1 Don’t Get Fat
This might come as a surprise to you, but lots of NCOs don’t get promoted because they can’t pass the APFT or Height/Weight standards. I couldn’t imagine being # 1 on STAP or meeting the cut off scores and then NOT getting promoted because I couldn’t pass one of these events. The moral of this story is to stay in shape. Work out during the month and keep your weight under control. If you fail one of these events, you don’t deserve to get promoted.
# 2 Get a Second MOS
In the ARNG and USAR, it might be in your best interest to get a second or third MOS. Some MOSs are very competitive and offer very limited upward mobility. When you have an additional MOS, you will have better options. And options are good! Before you pick a second MOS, get a copy of the state’s manning roster to see which MOSs offer the most potential.
# 3 Update Your Personnel File Quarterly
At a minimum of once every 90 days make sure you update your IPERMS file. Check to make sure everything is updated and accurate. Whenever you get a new award, an evaluation report, or any paperwork, make sure it is submitted to IPERMS and then go and check to see that it’s in your file within 30 days. I’d also recommend you make an “I Love Me” book that has all your important documents in it and keep it in a safe place.
Even if you love your unit, I encourage you to be willing to take a promotion outside of your unit, even if you have to travel more than 50 miles. Sometimes you have to make temporary sacrifices so you can advance your career. If you are offered a promotion take it. You might not get the opportunity again for a while.
# 5 Monitor the STAP List/Cutoff Scores Monthly
If you are in the ARNG, you should monitor the STAP List. You should know who is #1 on the list, how many points they have and how far back you are. That way you can formulate a game plan so you can be # 1 next year. If you are in the USAR, keep your eyes on the cutoff scores each month. Look for trends. If you are close to the cutoff scores, do what you can to bump up your score. You should always know where you stand in relation to STAP or Cutoff Scores.
# 6 Do Something to Increase Your Promotion Points Every Month
Every single month for your entire career, do something to increase your promotions points. Take a college class, complete a correspondence course, or go to a military school. Those are things you have control over. Even if you just do two or three correspondence courses every month that will add up to a lot of promotion points in a 12 month period. Remember, you are either advancing your career or you are going backwards.
# 7 Network with Superiors and People of Influence
The most successful NCOs that I know of have large networks. I’m not talking about butt kissing either. I’m talking about building strategic relationships with people of influence. You need a game plan to meet people and to build a positive professional relationship with them. People should know who you are and what you bring. After all, people like to promote and select people for jobs that they know, like and trust. You should network with other NCOs, Officers, and DA Civilians.
# 8 Take Responsibility for Your Own Career
Ultimately, your career is in your hands. No one cares about your career as much as you do. Therefore, you need to man up or woman up and take responsibility of your career. That means you need a game plan, you need to be proactive and you have to stop blaming others when you don’t get what you want!
# 9 Have Realistic Expectations
Many folks expected to get promoted at minimum time in grade for every promotion. Very few people ever attain that. It is possible, but it’s also highly unlikely. You need to have realistic expectations about when you should be promoted. Otherwise, you will be disappointed.
# 10 Have a Positive Attitude!
Having a positive attitude makes a huge difference. No one likes a negative person. Put a smile on your face, treat others with respect, be nice to people, and show interest in others. Believe it or not, this one skill alone will take your pretty far in your military career.
What are your thoughts? Do you have any added tips that helped you gain a promotion? Do you have any questions? Please post them in the comments section below. Thank you.