Before I decided I wanted to join the military I did a lot of research online and tried to gather as much information as possible. I may be becoming a Library and Information Studies professional through my master’s degree program which means I know how to research. But by no means am I an expert in the military. Nor is the world wide web for that matter. There is a wealth of information out to be found but some questions are just difficult to find the answer for. This is when it is easiest to go directly to a source.
I will say personally, I feel like I lucked out with my Army recruiter, he was about a month out from going back to his old job. He hated being a recruiter because it wasn’t his choice. He was about as honest as it comes because he didn’t have any goals left to hit. Literally, the first thing he said to me was “What the fuck are you doing here? You already have a career.” That being said, recruiters are good guys, yes their job is to get you to be excited about joining the Armed Forces but they will answer your questions. Here are some to get the wheels turning.
- What does a typical day in the job I am interested in look like? What civilian careers relate to this? (especially for those who are not planning a life career of the military)
- What is basic military training like? How should I properly prepare for it?
- What does living on a base entail?
- How quickly do promotions to the next rank happen?
- How do benefits work, and when do I get access to the GI, or Tuition Assistance Programs?
- How long is my AIT and where would I be located for that?
- What ASVAB score do I need for the job I am interested in?
- Are there any special bonuses or commitment lengths right now? How can I ensure access to these?
- What is the minimum commitment time for this position? Can the military extend my contract at will?
- What are the fitness standards before, during, and after basic training?
- What are the grooming standards for this branch? Do I have to worry about any tattoos? (Females you may want to ask about hair)
- What is the waiver process like if I need to have something cleared? (i.e surgeries, injuries etc.)
Bonus Questions for Reserves
- Where are reserve drilling locations in the area?
- Is the job I am interested in at the location I would like to be?
- What is the difference in benefits?
- Currently is there any wait time for reserve positions? (can happen a lot in the Air Force)
- What is the process like when being called up for active duty?
- Will you help me inform my employer I am making this decision?
These are just a few questions for a starting off point, I would recommend if you are interested in multiple branches to ask these questions for all. While a lot of the base information is the same, sometimes grooming standards, job availability, and advancement look very different from branch to branch. It is important to compare information and determine what branch is right for you. Don’t feel pressure to make a decision immediately. This is your future. I talked to several different branch recruiters before making a decision to join the Army Reserve.