7 Suggestions for Writing your Officer Fitrep

1.     Focus on primary duty and be outstanding. No amount of collateral duties can make up for mediocrity in an officer’s primary duty.  However, collateral duties can help to round out an officer’s overall experience.

2.        Emphasize the 4 Ps – Performance, Participation, Progression and Potential.  It’s all about performance; being the best at what an officer’s does; being involved at different levels; demonstrating increased capability and leadership skills; and showing that the officer has the ability to be a leader in Naval Medicine.  Bullets for senior officers should show far-reaching impact and clearly demonstrate leadership qualities.

3.          Bulletize your statements.  Don’t expect or rely on a board member to figure out exactly what the officer did and why it is important.  Tell them! When feasible, start each bullet with a hard-hitting action word, such as completed, initiated, co-authored, implemented, and developed.  Bullets that start out  “As Chair of the Committee for Protection of Human Subjects…” or “While serving as a Special Assistant to the Commanding Officer…” or “In her role as Department Head….” quickly lose their impact.

4.        Write “cause and effect” bullets.  Write what the officer did, what the positive outcome was, and clearly state what the benefit was to the command, specialty community and Corps, Naval Medicine or the Navy in general.  Do not write a job description.  A busy reporting senior will likely adopt well-written comments verbatim.

5.         Avoid use of techno babble and scientific jargon.  Selection boards consist of specialists from many fields and backgrounds.  Therefore, the narrative should be written for someone with no background in the specialty.  Few will care what the title of a scientific article is or what journal it was published in.  It is the significance of the article and its impact on the Navy that counts.

6.        Work on input year round.  Officers should keep track of their accomplishments throughout the year, not wait until a few days before fitrep input is due.  Officers should keep electronic and hard copy “Brag Files” and place potential items for fitness report input into these files throughout the year.  Fitness report block numbers should break down input in order to make it easier for the reporting senior.

7.        Pay attention to Block 40.  Selection boards look at the recommendations for next assignment. Recommended milestones should be aligned with an officer’s current rank and experience.  For example, a newly promoted LCDR should not be recommended for CO of an MTF, but rather for Department Head, staff, etc.