Hey, Master Chief, what do I have to do to get promoted?!” As a command master chief, I hear this question a lot. Petty officers ask how to get promoted to chief. Chiefs ask how to get promoted to senior and master chief. During the past several years I have come to realize there are two important pieces to the answer to this question. The first is to acquire and demonstrate the professional knowledge, expertise, leadership traits, and experience that will merit promotion. The second piece is to make sure your evaluations document your knowledge, expertise, leadership, and impact in a way that will convince a selection board to promote you.
To be promoted to chief and above, sailors must seize moments of opportunity throughout their careers; they should not waste effort searching for special ways to write an evaluation. Evaluations are important, but the focus should be on providing relevant, hard-hitting data. The scoring system on selection boards is straightforward; data, not style, equates to points. Sentence fragments and bullets are your best friend.