Top 10 Tips to Improve Your Army Job Skills

If you’re anything like me, you want to constantly improve your job skills so you can do a better job at work, get noticed and hopefully advance your career faster.  To do that, I want to share my top 10 tips to improve your Army job skills.  These are little things you can do each day, month and year that will make you a better worker and better boss.  They are listed in no particular order.

1. Take a typing class – Just about everyone in the Army has a responsibility to prepare correspondence at some point or another.  If you can’t type at least 60 words per minute, you should take a class on how to type.  This will be time well invested, especially if you type with one or two fingers at a time.  Learning to type fast will free up some of your time to do other more important things.

2. Join an Association – Most serious professionals belong to several different associations.  You should do the same thing.  Join the National Guard Association, the Army Reserve Association or Army Association.  Consider joining your Division’s Association or your Branch’s Association, too.  Or, you could join the VFW, American Legion or another association.  You will learn new cutting edge information and meet some great people in the process.

3. Improve Your Public Speaking Skills – All leaders need to be proficient public speakers.  For most people, public speaking is a huge fear.  I think it would be in your best interest to learn how to speak in front of others effectively.  Sign up for a local Toastmaster’s Program or take a public speaking class at a local community college.

4. Take a Class – You should enroll in the life-long learning program or continuing education program.  Make a commitment to take 1-3 college classes each year, for the rest of your life.  Strive to constantly sharpen your skills and learn new skills.  Take classes that interest you or will help you be better at your job.  Your tuition assistance and GI Bill should cover most of the cost.

5. Read one Book a Month – Make it a point to read at least one book every month about your job, or skills required for your job.  Read books on the technical aspects of your job, on leadership, communication and conflict resolution.  One book a month for a 20 year career is 240 books.  Think about how much you would learn if you read that many books.

6. Take on a Tough Assignment – If your boss has a tough assignment and he needs a volunteer, than volunteer for the job!  Step out of your comfort zone and stretch yourself.  This will let your prove yourself to your boss.  Even better, you will learn a new skill and see what you are personally capable of.

7. Expand Your Network – Make it a goal to meet one or two influential people each month.  Expand your network whenever you can.  Build strategic relationships with people who can enhance your career and help you get to be where you want to go.  Please know that I’m not talking about butt kissing either.  I’m talking about networking.

8. Help Your Subordinates More – If you have people working for you, strive to help them more.  Assist them when they need it.  Mentor them.  Give them clear guidance and instruction.  Put them in for awards.  Help them develop themselves into the people they are capable of becoming.  Invest in people is one of the best things you can do to improve your job skills.

9. Go Back to School – Take a college class, enroll is a distance learning course, take a correspondence course or attend some other course that can improve your Army job skills.  This can be a formal or informal class taught by the military or your local college.

10. Practice Your Interview Skills – Get good at interviews.  Study the interview process.  Do mock interviews with your boss or team members.  This is a great skill to possess.  You will never know when it might come in handy.

Final Thoughts

In summary, these are my best tips on how to improve your Army job skills.  Whether you are a Soldier, NCO or Officer, you should always strive to improve yourself on a daily basis.  Try to get a little better every single day.  Follow my top 10 tips on how to improve your Army job skills or develop a plan of your own.  You will be glad that you did.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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10 thoughts on “Top 10 Tips to Improve Your Army Job Skills”

  1. Once again, I am impressed with how your insight carries over into all occupations, not just the military. This list could benefit readers in all areas of work. Improving technical skills (and yes, I agree with the importance of typing speed) and networking are essential. If I had to choose one item on your list that I believe it most important, above all others, I would have to say “join an association”. This will give you an immediate group of acquaintances who share a common passion or goal. This will be where you find the opportunities and the contacts you would have the most interest in. And you will probably always at least know how to safely start a conversation.

  2. These are some great tips to get better at your job. At the end of the day you need to take pride in what you do and be a sponge. Learn everything you can about your job, your unit, your subordinates, and your boss. Ask questions and listen!

  3. In the private sector, even a techie niche like accounting, speaking skills are at or very close to the top of the essential skills list. Sooner or later we all have to make presentations and knowing how to be at ease in front of a group is worth its weight in gold. The more you speak the better you will get, but Toastmasters is probably the fastest (and most fun) way to gain speaking skills. Appearance means a lot in many corporations. Speaking acumen is gold.

    1. Great points Larry. I agree with you, everyone should develop their public speaking skills. Most people fear public speaking more than death. Once you get a little practice and know what you are doing, you might discover that you actually enjoy it. Public speaking can be fun when you have confidence and the required skill set.

  4. From the list that you’ve provided I would say that taking a typing class and getting better at public speaking are definitely the most important. That’s not to downplay anything else on the list, but I believe those two skills are basic skills that you must have to compete in today’s job market.

    When I was active, I was an intelligence analyst for a support battalion. My job was to have a daily brief written and presented to the brigade commander. This nerve racking experience helped me build up my public speaking skills and if I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t be nearly as marketable today.

    1. Let me also just say quickly that I believe expanding your public speaking ability will help you not just when you have to speak publicly. It will help you in interviews. It will help you mingle with people at events easier. It’s just all around a good social and professional tool to attain.

  5. A couple of additions: For #2, especially for enlisted soldiers, join your state chapter of EANGUS–the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States. (Louisiana’s chapter, for example, is LANGEA, the Louisiana National Guard Enlisted Association). Officers, you can join, too, by the way. EANGUS is one of many organizations fighting to protect our benefits, and in today’s budget climate that has become more important than ever before. For #3, I’ve had the privilege of being tapped to be the narrator at many ceremonies, from multiple battalion changes of command up to the last brigade change of command and the brigade’s casing and departure ceremony for our 2010 deployment. It all started because I read the promotion or award orders several times for my company, which led to being asked to narrate the departure ceremonies for my company and HHC for the 2004 mobilization, and on it went. I enjoy doing them, and it doesn’t hurt that they give me a lot of visibility with some very important people, from the new brigade commander, the state Joint Forces-Army CSM, and the adjutant general. Don’t be afraid to get up in front of a few hundred (or few thousand) people!

    1. Every Soldier needs to learn public speaking. It is a very important skill. As leaders, we often have to communicate our ideas to large groups of people. You need to appear confident and address your message with ease if you want to be taken seriously as a leader.

      Thanks for sharing.

      Chuck Holmes

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