Making yourself competitive for promotion

SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mich. -- Below are the six points, with a short explanation of why each is important to making you stand out from the others in your peer group.

You will notice the lack of discussion about "leadership", "communication", and "PME". Those are all required, too. In fact, those basic requirements are mandatory to even be considered for Promotion, so if you haven't done your Professional Military Education, or can't lead troops out of a paper bag, forget it. Once you master the basics, concentrate on the six points below to distinguish yourself among your peer group.

1. Become a Technical Expert:
Your section is your home base. It is how you are identified by all other members of the squadron. Whether you are in Supply, Fuels, Vehicle Maintenance, Transportation Management, Plans or another specialty section you will be viewed by your peers as that type of person. And the others in your section will quickly learn how much they can depend on your knowledge and support at critical times. Your reputation as a great Guardsman or a work-under-pressure Blue Streak technician or a knowledge with flight line procedures will precede you in all assignments. Are you the best in your section? When your peers and your superiors know that you are supremely competent in your career field you will stand out among the rest of the pack.

2. Volunteer:
It takes so much more than showing up at 0700 on Saturday and staying until 1600 on Sunday to make the great Wing that it is. Retirement ceremonies, credible awards packages, Christmas parties, Rodeos, Bivouacs, Honor Guard - none of these is part of the your AFSC job description. Yes, these and many more things are part of what makes a great squadron fly high above the others. Do you have a role in making the Wing great? Or do you merely put in your time? Volunteering puts you in the category of going "above and beyond" and gives your leadership the impression that you care deeply about the squadron and the Wing to which you belong.

3. Be Dependable:
UTAs are a busy time. Managing an award-winning Wing takes a lot of work. Your leadership team needs members that they can depend upon to take a project from concept to completion. Remember these tips: 1) If you get an assignment, seek your supervisor's input and guidance to get started, 2) Keep them informed of your progress and 3) ask for feedback once you're complete. Ask yourself: When given a job, project, or assignment; do I get it done? Or does it fizzle out shortly after I've gotten started. As you get higher in the chain of command, it becomes much easier to see who is dependable. If you want to be promoted, your name must be on that list.

4. Participate:
Again, this is entry level stuff. You have to be here, in the squadron, on UTAs if you expect to get promoted. At the 127th MIANG we do a lot more than just UTAs and annual tours. There are off-UTA leadership seminars, conferences, nightshift duties, weekend coverage, fund raisers, and schools. Do you participate in these events, too?

5. Possess Superior Military Bearing
When was the last time you checked your military bearing? Do you know how to treat a Chief Master Sergeant? An officer? Do you look good in your uniform? Got all your patches on? Superior haircut? This is entry level stuff, folks. You've got to get this right just to be in the military. But so often it gets overlooked. We are all books, and we all get judged by our covers, it's simply human nature.

6. Display a Positive Attitude:
It's not always going to go your way. I promise you will suffer frustrations at times. You may have felt you were a shoe-in for promotion, or thought your medal package was a "done deal." The experts tell us that the true test of a person is how they act during times of adversity.

Well, there it is. Concentrating on these six points will help you stand out among your peers. You will be seen as "first among equals". Doors marked "opportunity" will magically open in front of you. From there, it's up to you to walk through them.

Best regards and good luck at the next promotion board!