Looking forward to 2017, service members through DoD are considering their timelines – is it time to call your branch manager?
Whether you’re planning on doing 20 years, 5 or just waiting to see how things go, the ability to work with your branch manager is a key part of navigating your military career.
Do Your Homework
Before contacting your assignment manager, do your homework. Is your file up to date? Is anything incorrect? Have you completed any professional development or education relevant to your file that isn’t listed? Having that information on hand and ready lays the foundation for a productive conversation.
Understand the Cycle
In each branch of the military, there is a cycle for how slots are allocated and filled. Within the individual services, there are specific rotations. Understand the cycle that applies to you. When are available slots identified, offered and filled. If you contact your assignment manager after the jobs you are asking for were filled, there isn’t much he/she can do for you.
Reach Out With Questions
Assignment managers are go betweens. They are looking to fill the needs of the DoD while balancing your professional development and keep service members happy & satisfied enough to maintain retention. Building some rapport with your assignment manager when you don’t have an urgent need is an excellent way to open up communication. Ask their opinion on career progressions, on the best way to prepare a competitive file or assistance reviewing your file for incomplete or incorrect information. While being a familiar (and pleasant to deal with) name won’t earn the assignment you want, it might mean that they open your email and take a minute to respond even when the phone is ringing and the inbox full.
Making Your Request
Do your research and know what you’re looking for. If you have a child entering high school, four year stability may be your top priority. Career progression, staying stateside after multiple deployments or a slower optempo are other common requests. Know what your priorities are. Understand that that while your assignment manager will try to accommodate them, assignments are made based on
- Needs of the Army/Air Force/Marines/Coast Guard
- Career Progression/Development
- Service member’s wants
The better informed you are about your branch’s cycle and what positions you are qualified for, the more you are able to help your assignment manager match all three of those factors.
Each branch has their own workflow. It is essential that you take the time to discern the best contact options (phone or email) and know who your current assignment manager is. Making contact to welcome a new, incoming assignment manager is a smart start.
Ready to do the homework of researching your possible next duty stations? Log in to AHRN.com to create or update your dashboard for housing availability, neighborhood information and more!