Another Chapter in Getting the Most Mileage out of Your Fitrep at a Selection Board
Disclaimer! Every board is different. The board president and the members each have a different personality and value different things. The broad scope of experience of each member normalizes the board to a degree, but no two boards are the same. So there is no “formula” or code to crack when dealing with board matters, rather view this as a best practices guide which reflects general good ideas.
The BUPERSINST (1610.10 series) does not distinguish between trait marks and their weights. Since board members are human, they will try to get inside the fitrep writer’s head and make inferences by what the trait marks say. What would they communicate to the board by saying someone has a 5.0 in leadership? What are they communicating by NOT marking a candidate with a 5.0 in leadership? This is where the gamesmanship of writing your own fitrep comes in.
· Similarly with your comments, be proactive about assigning yourself the next levels of development. Be specific in your promotion, don’t just let the EP/MP be where the recommendation stops. Some fitrep authors don’t really know how the game is played and send up a fitrep that screams “AVERAGE PERFORMER” while sounding nice to the average reader. Ask for command recommendations. Write soft breakouts things like my Number 4 of 40 LTs, Forced Distribution MP.
· Ask what your reporting senior average is when you sign your fitrep. If they won’t tell you, that should be a red flag. In the board, everyone immediately compares your trait average to the reporting senior average – it is an automatic litmus test see if you made the cut or the crunch. Unless your CO includes comment like, “resetting my average.” Your position below the RSA doesn’t bode well for the board.
For Reservists: Annotate your civilian responsibilities on your fitrep.
- If you are the general manager of a Target, then note how many employees, assets, etc. you are in charge of.
- If you are a VP of a construction company, then list how many projects you’ve been responsible for, the revenue generated, personnel and equipment you had to manage to get the job done.
- If you’re a SME on anything from foreign affairs to cesium beam oscillators then let the Navy know what you can do for them.
In short, extend your civilian career as an asset to the Navy. If board members can look at your civilian job and see leadership, management and sustained superior performance, then that’s another opportunity for you to make the cut. If you don’t list it, because it’s not directly military, then you’re taking yourself out of the promotional gene pool.