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EVAL Writing 101 - Tips/Ticks/Tools of the Trade

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    Over the last few months I have been making posts about getting with the MCPO's of your associated rate and seeking guidance and counseling on "What it takes to be selected" for CPO.  As many of you know, the time to start grooming for CPO begins at the "Greatest rank in the Navy" Second Class Petty Officer....

 

    To me personally there is a very good reason I would say 2nd Class is the Greatest rank, that is because this is the rank that your actions and what you decide to do with your career will set you apart from others. 

 

  • You can choose to cruise a long and play the "My LPO didnt tell me" or "I didnt know" or what ever other excuses there are out there, and well guess what, 2nd Class is one of the largest ranks (by numbers) in the Navy so... it is very easy to fade into the backround and "Dissappear".
  • OR, you can choose to seek out those divisional job positions, collaterals and to be fully involved in all aspects from CMD down to the division and establish yourself as a front runner with your competition taking the above route.

    The honest reason what you do as a 2nd Class is important is because with the rate of advancement (speed) as a FCPO up for CPO the board could potentially be looking at 2-3 years of 2nd Class EVALS.  If you are nieve enough to believe that there are not Chief's out there who have been selected that fit this scenario then you should think about it, and those in your own shop, division, department, or command.

 

    With that being said, I wanted to take a moment to share some of the great feedback I have ever received from my mentors (I will tie it all in to the EVAL process in the end);

 

  1. I once had a MCPO approach me while I was doing antenna preservation with my needle gun, goggles, and respirator in port YOKO JA.  He said "I know your up for orders, and this is where you're going....."  At that time I was a RM3 thinking WTF, I dont get to pick where I am going? It wasnt until my fourth duty station and I met another MCPO who told me "You need to take the billets that no one wants, if you cant afford to do that, you need to diversify your assignments"  he went on to explain to me that staying DDG to DDG to DDG is not good, it doesnt show diversity in your rating.  All it does show is you are either an expert at the DDG mission or you are dodging the challenging billets.
  2. As I transferred on as a FCPO I met my new CMC who was a prior ITCM, she shared with me quite a few words of wisdom, one of them was to "reach out to a MCPO who has sat the board in your community" she went on to explain that "you can talk to Chiefs in the mess all day long, they will give you great advice, look at your EVALS and say "This is a Select EVAL" (and in some cases they may be right) but then when the results come back and you dont make it, what do they do? "they scratch their head saying, I dont get it, shrug their shoulders and say maybe next year"
  3. Finally it was an out of (my) rate MCPO who sat me down and enlightened me to a whole new style of writing EVALS.... I grew up with great leaders, great writers who I though in turn trained me to be a great writer.  That meant, when filling in BLK 41 on the EVAL I LEFT NO BLANK (WHITE) SPACE.  He explained to me that all this does is make a person grading/scoring your EVAL have to fish through and pick out what they are looking for.  If you keep it short concise and to the point you show them only what you want them to see.  I later found out that he was sitting CPO/SCPO/MCPO boars for the last couple of years.

    I have many more things I could write but these three, I think pertain more specifically to a lot of "Common misconceptions" about EVALS....

 

    Now I know, some of you may look at this and go "Duh" and you already know this but follow me here because I am sure at least one of these will be a point of contention with your own thought process on EVALs.

 

  • The only champion of you IS YOU.  Be bold or go home (my old SCPO used to tell me).  I always get a chuckle out of someone when they read my EVALs, they say really?  Did the CO sign that?  I respond, YUP!  I'll give you an example:

                  "Should be wearing Khaki, a welcome addition to my CPO Mess"

                  "One of the best and fully qualified candidates for SCPO I have seen in my 23 years of Naval service!"

                  "A SCPO missing a star!"

  • Your EVAL needs a strong opening and closing that TELLS the board you need to be selected, keep in mind the board views this EVAL as a letter from the CO to them as to why they should select you.  The cookie cutter "has my strongest...." works but you never know what the boundaries are unless you shoot for the stars.....
  • Read the precepts, even the previous years will serve as a great guide.  Have you ever read or seen an advertisement that really captures your attention?  Thats because they use "Key Words", or the big wizbang things that you are looking for.  Think of it like this, the person making the advertisement is the candidate for CPO, you are the Board, you buying their product because of the ad is the equivalent of being selected!  There are key things you MUST work into your EVAL.

          A few of the consistent ones are:

 

                 "Sustained superior performance"

                 "The best and fully qualified"

                 "Deckplate leadership"

                 "Sailor development"

                 "CPO 365"

                 "Peer leadership"

 

  • Collateral Duties, this is probably the largest, debatable topic.  The best advice I have been given about this was;  Take one big collateral, do it, do it well.  Document it on your EVAL.  There are those out there who have 2/3/4 collaterals, for a group of MCPO's out there reading thousands of EVALs they most commonly ask, "where's the time for the Division or their Sailors if they are so involved with collaterals? Who's executing the mission?" For example:

          "Flawlessly processed three CMEO cases, ensuring confidentiality and expeditious resolution."

  • Bullets should be short and concise, straight to the point. WHAT DID YOU DO, HOW DID YOU DO IT, WHAT WAS THE RESULT. This is where a lot of EVALs start to track down hill.  FLUF FLUF FLUF......  I know we have all heard the above, but do we convey it so someone see's what it is we want them to see or are they having to pick it apart to get there?

          "Maintained both departmental and divisional LCPO positions, filling the billet of a SCPO.  Expertly led one SCPO and two CPOs in the management of four divisions comprised of 51 Sailors, his efforts resulted in maintaining a departmental 100% CDB status, 99% GMT status, a 82% retention, and 67% advancement rate."

 

          A little lengthy but for a CPO EVAL that should be striving to perform as a SCPO, it fits the billet of precisley answering "What, How, Results".  It clearly conveyed what I wanted the board to see.

  • Order of bullets:  The order of your bullets is pretty simple, We are leaders, therefore out Leadership should be first, then followed by a Technical Expert bullet, followed by Command Involvement bullet (Collaterals/FCPO/CPOA ect.), then community SVC or college.
  • Lastly the review and scrub, yes I have made a lot of contacts over the years HOWEVER, you can too.  Once you have executed the next step (I know, a little out of order), shoot your draft EVAL out to said mentors (who have sat boards), look for their advice, each of them will give minute variances of how hey would spin it but use your best judgment and make a final product.  Shoot the final product back out to all mentors and you will get a resounding thumbs up.
    • I have practiced what I preach for the last 5 years, I print copies of each MCPO's reccommendations and put it in the routing folder of my submitted EVAL.  My EVAL has never been edited, all the way up to the CO (minus minor grammarical errors).
  • Each of us has that one MCPO, SCPO, or CPO in our career that has made a lasting impact on us.  Keep in contact with them, network, reach out to those MCPO's who sit the boards.  One very simple question will open pandora's box;
  1. Here are the last 5 years of my EVAL's what am I doing wrong OR what I could I be doing better?

****I am no proclaimed expert at writing EVAL's and I am sure each CPO has his or her experiences to share with the successes they have had in selection, but I thought I would share those specific to me.*****

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Great post. I always tell my E5s that their goal to make Chief starts at that rank. When I made Chief first time up, I immediately knew my E5 evals helped more since I only had 2 E6 evals. A lot folks think you can never make Chief if your trait average is not 4.57, 4.71, or even 5.0. My highest trait average of both E5 and E6 evals was 4.29, but the write ups speak for themselves.

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Great post. I always tell my E5s that their goal to make Chief starts at that rank. When I made Chief first time up, I immediately knew my E5 evals helped more since I only had 2 E6 evals. A lot folks think you can never make Chief if your trait average is not 4.57, 4.71, or even 5.0. My highest trait average of both E5 and E6 evals was 4.29, but the write ups speak for themselves.

Spot on brother!

Don't get hung up on the Promotion Reccomendation, the Trait Average is the key to the puzzle....Don't get me wrong though, a Breakout does help!

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