How to Evaluate the Promotion Potential of a Billet/Position

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Recently I advertised the USUHS Commandant position. A reader asked:

Any thoughts on whether you think this is a position that would make an O5 competitive for O6?

This is a common issue. A position is advertised, but you want to know if it will help get your promoted to O5 or O6 if you take it. Here is how I’d evaluate that situation.

First, you need to contact the incumbent in that position now, if possible. You’re going to need information that they have.

Now that you’ve contacted that person, you need to ask them some questions:

  • Did they or anyone before them promote to O5/O6 while they were in the position or shortly thereafter? In other words, has taking the position led to promotion for those who’ve already done it? If the answer is yes, that is telling and indicative that the position advances people’s careers. If the answer is no, you should probably look elsewhere for a career advancing position.
  • How large is their competitive group on their fitreps? You want a position with a large competitive group so that you can perform well and break out to the right with MP and EP fitreps. Competitive EP fitreps are probably the #1 most important ingredient for successful promotion, so if the position has a small competitive group or leads to a 1/1 fitrep, it would be a mark against that position’s potential to get you promoted.
  • Were they able to get EP fitreps? They might not tell you this, but if they are willing to give you this info it can help you gauge the potential for you to get EP fitreps while doing the job.
  • What do your mentors think about you taking the position? We all need mentors, and I always ask mine what they think when a potential position is in my crosshairs. If they don’t think it is a good idea, I usually pass on it.

That’s it. Those are the things I’d look at when trying to evaluate whether or not a position will help you get promoted. Most of the information needs to come from the incumbent or people who have previously done the job.

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