In my two years managing a team of officer recruiters for the Navy, I learned a couple lessons the hard way. Without delving into the stories, here are the bullet points of the lessons learned I presented to the team upon leaving.
- Know the instructions and processes. Most others don't know them. You will often need to go around them.
- Be Organized. Keep archives and master the ability to follow up. Unfortunately, you can't assume that an email will be read or submitted documents will be properly reviewed. This feeds into a lesson learned from pretty much day 1 of my Naval career - Never underestimate the capacity for human error (especially your own 🤣)
- Your reputation matters. Do you solve problems or have others solve them for you?
- Prospect daily. Get your name out there. You want the public to know who you are.
- Learn (the unfortunately antiquated) Navy systems and databases, it will make you immediately valuable. In the world of Navy recruiting at the moment of writing that means PRIDE and Salesforce. Other notable systems to know for all officers/chiefs: NAVFIT98A (the 98 stands for 1998 😩), FLTMPS (wish they told me about this when I was a DIVO), general Navy correspondence (skip the admin department by being one yourself).
- You own every aspect of the application process. As a leader, the first person to blame is always yourself. Sorry, but you can take it. When you or others fail, try to understand why and improve the process. Supervisors will recognize those who try to improve systems.