Stop Writing Your Final Navy FITREP or Eval for the Promotion Board

A few days ago one of my top Chief’s Navy Evaluation crossed my desk. This individual is a stand out Chief and one of the hardest workers at the command. As I reviewed the Navy Evaluation it was clear that he was very accomplished, did great work for the Navy, was very well written, and his writeup was certain to get him promoted on the next Senior Chief’s board.

Unfortunately after one look at his Navy Eval I scribbled a big X through his write up and sent it back for a complete rework.

His Eval was written to the completely wrong audience. The problem with his Chief’s Evaluation is that it would never see the light of day in a Senior Chief’s board. You see this individual is a terminal E7 and would be getting out of the Navy in the next few months.  However, it was written to an audience of Chiefs, when it should have been written to his next civilian job.  

While his Chiefs Eval would be easily understandable by others in the Military, it would be completely undecipherable by those outside the Military.  It was full of acronyms, military specific jargon and terms that only we in the military understand.

So, rather than accepting the Chief Eval I kicked it back. I kicked it back to the Chief I told that it needed to be completely rewritten for a civilian audience.  Rather than rewrite it for senior chief bored I wanted him to rewrite it for his next civilian job.

As he rewrote the Navy Eval I recommended the three topics that would be easily understandable by civilian hiring managers and recruiters.

Leadership: Whether in the military or civilian sector everyone understands leadership and everyone understands that leading more people is better than leading fewer.   Be sure to spell out how many people you were directly responsible both in your Department and watch section.  For example you could say something like. Directly responsible for both  a communications department containing six individuals, and every six days a watch section containing 27 individuals.

Money: Money is another area that translates well across military and civilian sectors.  Talk about your responsibilities over your travel budget, supply budget, or contracting budget. If you do not have a budget that you are responsible for then try and assign a dollar value to your responsibility. For example, an engineer on a ship does not pay for the Engines; however, he could say something like “ Responsible for the operations and maintenance 7 turbine engines valued at 3.9 million dollars”

Projects: Finally one should talk about project management.  Whether in the military or civilian world everyone understands project management. Whether ad-hoc projects with a team of 3 or long term projects with a team of 20 these should be included in your Navy FITREP or EVAL. You should discuss the problem that lead to the project, your team size, how you organized your team and the results of your work. For example you could use this bullet: “Over the winter months I was assigned as project manager over 10 individuals responsible for creative solutions to de-icing the our newest 22 aircraft.  Using innovative ideas from industry we developed and implemented a solution resulting in no lost flight hours due to icing. “

As an end result that Chief’s Evaluation went from poor to outstanding. Now when civilian hiring managers review that Evaluation they will be able to understand the work that he did in the military and be able to apply those relevant skills to his new civilian job.