Military Preparation: How to be a Good Military Recruit

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Chief Hospital Corpsman Jaime Kalaw, a recruit division commander at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, disciplines a new recruit during "Night of Arrival" at the Navy's only Boot Camp. (U.S. Navy/Austin Rooney)
Chief Hospital Corpsman Jaime Kalaw, a recruit division commander at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, disciplines a new recruit during "Night of Arrival" at the Navy's only Boot Camp. (U.S. Navy/Austin Rooney)

Preparation is key to any professional challenge in the future of a candidate or recruit. Whether it is for military, police, firefighter, or any other job interview process, a candidate should know as much as they can about job options.

For those considering military service, walking into a recruiter's office and joining any branch that will have you on a whim is the beginning of a long journey that you may not fully enjoy. If that's the case, you might miss out on some of the great benefits of military service.

If you want to serve, do your homework and learn the administration process of becoming a member to help land your "dream job." Does that process requires elevated physical fitness standards? You should start training immediately and become a competitive recruit in all areas of tactical fitness to get to and through the selection program.

You may also need to prepare academically by finishing school or taking extra courses. And there is always the issue of becoming mentally tough to endure the challenges that await you no matter what job you aspire to obtain.

Here is a list of responsibilities that fall on the recruit's shoulders.

1. Know What You Want to Do

The last thing you want to do is walk into a recruiter's office and ask them, "What do I qualify to do?" You should know what you want to do, otherwise the military will find a job for you that is typically difficult to fill. "The Needs of the Navy" will be fulfilled when the recruit leaves it up to the recruiter to tell him or her what they can do.

2. Prepare

Mental and physical preparation are essential to graduate and earn certain jobs in the military. You will hear, "by failing to prepare -- you should prepare to fail" along your journey in your military career and it is true for the recruit as well. Once again, "the needs of the Navy" will be fulfilled when you fail to achieve your initial goals of the job you picked prior to (or after) basic training.

See the Military.com Fitness Page for more ideas on training for any military job -- even special ops related that require some mental toughness.

3. Take Some Initiative

One of the first things you will learn in the military is "The Message to Garcia." It's all about taking initiative and figuring out solutions to problems in any situation. It is easier than ever now to find information, but you need to make sure you get reliable and up-to-date information on the recruiting process and the job training thereafter.

See the official Military websites and start your research.

Notice the webpages above. They are filled with cool jobs that show special ops of each branch, pilots, soldiers shooting guns, Marines doing hand-to-hand, and Coast Guard taking out drug smugglers. These are all great jobs and you can be a part of them, but you need to prepare yourself for the challenges that lie ahead of you.

4. Understand the Training Pipeline

No matter what you decide you want to do in the military, you need to learn how the process works. Where is the training? How long is the school? What phases train different elements of the job? What is the success/fail rate?

Have some discussions with people who have been through the training. If you know there are many miles of running and rucking, you should prepare now. If you know there are long swims and pool evolutions that challenge even an experienced swimmer's water confidence, you should swim or take lessons now. Don't trust people's stories about training unless they have done the training themselves. Some of the worst rumors are typically created and perpetuated by people who do not know. Trust by Verify.

5. You Have a Need to Know

You need to know the process 100%, and when a recruiter tells you something you are unfamiliar with, verify it. Do not sign anything in a recruiter's office until you read it thoroughly. Most recruiters are solid and very helpful with the processes of joining any job in their branch of service, but you may find a few in your path that do not know the correct path or flat-out lie to you about it. Yes -- it does happen. That is not some urban legend and it still happens today.

6. Know More Than the Recruiter.

Anytime you can make someone's job easier, it works for everyone in the process -- including you. Show up prepared, knowing what you want to do, ready to pass medical review process, ASVAB and the PT test on day one.

It is not the recruiter's job (or Spec Ops Mentor's) to get you in shape. They will help you and test your abilities prior to departing for the military, but you will not see them enough for them to adequately prepare, so it is on you to train hard, mentally prepare and learn the system as best you can prior to shipping out. The more you know before you even talk to a recruiter, the better the entire process of getting into the military, getting the job you want in the military, earning that job you want and enjoying your military career will be.

To be a good recruit, you have to be prepared with knowledge, physical abilities and be mature enough to realize you do not know everything yet. Start learning!

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