Looking forward to 2024, military personnel are considering their career timelines and making adjustments to their future plans. Whether you have questions about an upcoming promotion or need insight into your overall career trajectory, it may be time to schedule a chat with your branch manager.
From service members who have been in the military for five years to more seasoned personnel who have been around for two decades, the ability to work and communicate with your branch manager is key. After all, they are essential in helping you successfully navigate your military career!
1. Update Your Service Record
Before you reach out to your branch manager, you have some homework to do! Help them help you by ensuring your file is updated. You’ll want to collect any information they will need to know in order to help you and fully answer the questions you have for them.
For example, if you’re wondering about a potential promotion, you’ll want to have a list of any educational opportunities or professional development you’ve completed. Since military promotions are often based on achievements and educational milestones, they’ll need that information.
Having all relevant details on hand and easily accessible will lay the foundation for a productive and positive conversation. Coming prepared will also build respect and trust between you and your branch manager, as they will feel as though their valuable time was not wasted.
2. Understand the Military Cycle
We all know by now that each branch of the military operates a bit differently. This fact also applies to the cycles for how promotions are given and how military positions are filled. Each individual service has its own distinct rotation, and understanding this cycle can help you determine when it’s best to approach your branch manager about a promotion.
You can give yourself the best chance of earning an advancement by understanding the promotion cycle and completing the requirements to qualify. For example, rushing to complete professional development after a position is posted isn’t as effective as anticipating what needs to be completed before a role is up for grabs.
More Like This: If you are about to retire from the military, it’s a good idea to speak to your branch manager about what your transition as a military retiree will look like. You can begin your personal research by reviewing the Top 8 States for Retired Military Members!
3. Ask Your Branch Manager Questions
View your branch manager as a highly-regarded go-between. Their job is to fulfill the needs of the Department of Defense (DoD) while also helping you achieve your career goals. They are the perfect person to turn to regarding professional development, and one of the main aspects of their job is to retain service members.
While branch managers are often busy, they are like anyone else and enjoy building relationships with their colleagues. Establish a positive rapport with your branch manager by first reaching out to them when you don’t have an urgent need. Allowing them to get to know you before you come to them with an emergency is a wonderful way to foster open communication and a healthy working relationship.
A good conversation starter is to ask for their opinion regarding career progressions in your line of work. You can also ask them about the best way to prepare a competitive service record or have them review your file to help you address incomplete or incorrect information. Showing them that you are diligent will help you stand out as a responsible and reliable service member.
Learn More: Read About Your Military Benefits Here
Being a familiar and pleasant person to deal with won’t, by itself, earn the assignment you want. However, it could mean the difference between your branch manager taking the time to respond to your urgent email even when they’re busy or ignoring your message until they have more time on their hands.
4. Making Your Request
Before you make a request for a promotion or different assignment, identify your priorities. Do you have a child entering high school this year? A four-year stable position may be what is best for you and your military family.
Are you a young, married service member with an unemployed spouse? Perhaps PCSing out of state or overseas is the adventure you need at this point in your career. Whatever the case, make sure you are able to relay these priorities to your branch manager.
In addition, it’s important for you to adjust your expectations and understand that assignments are not solely in the hands of your branch manager. Although they will try to accommodate you, assignments are based on a variety of factors.
For more tips about PCSing, review our article PCS Military Move in 2023: Complete PCS Guide with Tips!
Factors Affecting Military Assignment Considerations
- The needs of the Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy, or Coast Guard
- Career progression to date
- Completed professional development
- Service member’s record (conduct, discipline, etc.)
- Service member’s priorities
Expert Tip: Gain insight into what you can be working on to achieve your next promotion by establishing a healthy working relationship with your branch manager. They can keep you informed so that no unwanted surprises pop up when you’re expecting an advancement or assignment change!
Moving? Discover Housing Resources
Is your next assignment taking you to another state or country? Here at AHRN, we specialize in connecting military members and their families to housing resources across the globe. Whether you are PCSing to the Aviano Air Force Base in Pordenone, Italy, or Fort Cavazos in Fort Cavazos, TX, we’ve got you covered!
Ready to explore housing close to your next installation? Login to AHRN.com to create or update your dashboard for housing availability, neighborhood information, and more.
You can also launch your home-buying journey by reading How to Hire the Best Real Estate Professional!