I remember when I first tried to get promoted to company officer in 2011. I studied hard. I knew the material. I knew how to study.
At least, I thought I did.
Needless to say, I didn’t get promoted. I remember the disappointment. I remember the embarrassment of failing. So from 2011 to 2013, I set in motion a plan to be promoted to company officer that I would like to share with you.
Tip #1: Have The Desire To Be An Officer
It will take a lot of time, effort, and energy to be promoted. You will need a laser-like focus to gain this promotion. There will be times when you will want to go to a social event or recreational activities, but you will be better served reading your books and materials or going through your notes.
If you have a family, they will be affected as well. You will have to put in long hours of study and attend study groups.
I will note that you will still need to be a supportive partner and a good parent to your children during this process. They will be your support. It doesn’t make any sense to get the gold badge and perhaps a raise then give it all back in alimony and child support. When you get the promotion then treat your whole family and friends to a “thank you” celebration.
Start studying early, at least one year prior to the test.
If you have a civil service exam, perhaps there are several books that you must read before you are given the company officer exam. You will need to know and be able to retain large amounts of information.
Find out the best way for you to learn the material. Do you know what your best way to study and retain information is? Do you take notes from your readings? Do you do use note cards? Do you use a voice recorder?
Whatever learning style you use, keep studying.
Tip #3: Study With Others
Study with many different people and groups.
I know what you’re thinking: “If I study with other people, they’ll know what I know.” Yes, but you’ll also know what they know, too. This learning process is reciprocal.
There was a lot of competition for the company officer position in the City of Madison when I applied and I’m sure there’s a lot of competition in your department too. However, keeping to yourself and keeping all of your information to yourself will not challenge you. Having multiple study partners and groups will make you study harder because you will not want to be the “weak link.” You’ll want to demonstrate to others that you know the material.
In addition, seek out current company officers that have passed the test and get their tips and pointers that helped them during their process. Working with others will assist you not only with passing the test, but will help you expand your department credibility.
Tip #4: Get Involved In Your Department
Get involved in your department if you haven’t already.
If you have a union, get involved. If the department has committees, get involved. As a company officer you are a prospective leader within the department. You need to know what is going on and where the department is headed.
If your department doesn’t have ways to get involved on a macro scale, then get actively involved in your current crew assignment. Tell your company officer your desires to be promoted and ask them if you can lead a training drill or be given a special assignment from time to time. Step up and be a leader on your crew. Continue to do well in your current position — but start thinking like a company officer.
How Did It Work?
In conclusion, I can say that these four points assisted me in becoming promoted in 2013. My written score increased from 78% to 92%. My knowledge of the materials increased because I found methods to assist me in retaining the material. By working with others, I gained additional knowledge plus I was determined to shine with study partners and groups. Lastly, I got involved in committees, interfaced with other company officers, chiefs and other informal leaders.
I hope these tips work for you. I wish you nothing but the best during your promotional process!
Photos courtesy of Johnny Winston, Jr.