Get your Personnel or Admin Officer to explain your Officer Data Card and where to find the NAVPERS codes on it. This card has all your important career information on it—training, warfare designations, qualifications, schools, language qualifications—everything your detailer uses to evaluate where in your career progression you are.
If you have a language ability, take the Defense Language and Proficiency Test (DPLT), then update your Officer Data Card. You may qualify for the Professional Exchange Program or a billet requiring language.
Obtain a copy of the Enlisted Eval and Officer Fitness Report Writing Guide to refer to when writing evals, awards and fitness reports. Keep a copy of the Navy Correspondence Manual handy so you have a reference and format for writing. When writing, start with a list of adjectives to describe the person you are writing on (hard working, professional, conscientious, etc.), then a separate list of descriptive adjectives (outstanding, excellent, superior, etc.). This will help you get started. Remember when you are writing an eval or fitrep, that you are distilling everything this person did for the last year down to 18 lines. If this is a good sailor, don’t waste space including information that won’t help them get advanced or promoted. It’s the equivalent of putting up a car for sale and saying it has clean tires. If you are asked to provide input or write a draft fitness report for yourself, write it the way you want to see it. It may show up “smooth” exactly the way you wrote it. Make your reporting senior lower the fitrep grades or downgrade your comments. Ensure you have a hard copy of all your fitness reports. Sometimes they go missing from your service record.
Learn how to read your Leave and Earning Statement (LES) to find out if you are being paid accurately. Don’t assume you are, and that your accrued leave and leave used is correct. Occasionally, you may be overpaid, and once the Navy figures it out, you will be required to repay the overpayment. If you don’t have the money available, the Navy will dock your pay in large sums until the money is repaid. Leave is money, either to use or sell—make sure it is correct.
Many issues such as domestic abuse, anger management, poor performance, insubordination, inability to focus, and tardiness, can usually be traced to financial and debt problems.