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Posts from the ‘App Profile’ Category

18
Apr

Going from Non-Select to Select (From a 17OT02 Select)

This is one of my follower’s story in his own words.  He was a civilian select from the 17OT02 board.


Find a Google Drive here with tools and resources mentioned within this document: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0ByhsA4Q1GurkXzRuYXQ4XzAteFE?usp=sharing


BOT Profile – Going from non-select to select

It took 18 months to go from the time I started the process to become an officer to the time I was finally selected.  I applied to three different boards.  For the first I was a non-rated non-select.  For the second my recruiter messed something up and my packet never made it to the rated board.  For my third I was selected as a Civilian RPA Pilot.  Between boards I didn’t retake any of the tests, receive any more awards, or do anything super special.  The only two things that I did different was get six hours of flight time and pour over my BOT profile.  Here is what I learned and did.

First, for a reference, my scores (click for larger image):

I don’t mean to boast, but those are good scores.  But remember, I was not selected my first time.  You’ll hear about the “whole person” concept over and over.  Scores don’t mean everything; they are just a small portion of your whole packet.

I received feedback from many people about my first application.  The thing that was said the most was that I was too wordy, and didn’t say a lot with the words that I used.  There was too much fluff.  You can see that when you compare the “Career Achievements,” “Personal Achievements,” “Personal/Outside Interests,” and “Work Experience” portions of the application.  Remember that the board members are looking at hundreds of applications.  If yours is too wordy, they will just start glossing over it without really reading it.

When I revised my “Career Achievements” and “Personal Achievements” sections I made sure that every line was short and concise, and I packed as much into it as possible.  Luckily I was prior National Guard, so I had a few awards that I could put on there.  I also made sure it looked like I was constantly “achieving” something, no matter how big or small it was. There was not a year that went by where I didn’t have some kind of “Achievement.”

When it came to the “Work Experience” portion, I again was plagued with having too much fluff and not enough substance.  I had heard about the Air Force Tongue and Quill guide, and I decided that I was going to follow the bullet statement part of that perfectly for my work experience.  Bullet statements are like a math formula. It goes:

  • Action verb
  • Accomplishment
  • Connection
  • Impact Element

See Chapter 19 of The Tongue and Quill for full instructions.

Air Force e-Publishing Link:
http://static.e-publishing.af.mil/production/1/saf_cio_a6/publication/afh33-337/afh33-337.pdf

Since the formula for building bullet statements is the same, I made myself an Excel spreadsheet Bullet Builder tool.  You can find that tool in the Google Drive.  This tool built every single one of my bullets for my work experience.  I tried to make sure I had at least two per job.  The Tongue and Quill have a list of action verbs that can be used, so I borrowed directly from there.

Below is an example of before and after I used The Tongue and Quill:

After:
It just feels like the second example just has much more substance to it.


Personal Statement
The last major part of the application is the Personal Statement.  This is probably the most important part to the whole thing.  For my first application, I wrote it like I was writing a school essay; lots of fluff and little direction.  They ask for why you “desire” to become an officer.  I believe that is a trap.  They don’t necessarily care about your desires.  They care about what you are going to bring to the Air Force.
I read lots of personal statements between my applications, because I wanted to be as perfect as possible.  Some people rewrite what is in the achievement and work experience sections, just in an essay form.  I didn’t like this approach very much.  I wanted it to be more like a story with feeling.  If I could move the reader in some way, then I was tying an emotion to my application.  Positive emotion is good when trying to be memorable and get good ratings.  This is what I did:
First, I talked about why the military and why Air Force. There are lots of branches, why did I choose the Air Force.
Second, I wanted to show my leadership potential as early and often as I could in my personal statement.  I used examples of me leading as much as I could, even using the word “leadership” multiple times.
Third, I wanted to show that I embody the Air Force Core Values.  I found a guide called “The Little Blue Book” (find it in the Google Drive) that explained what every single value means to the Air Force.  Without looking too obvious, I hit on how I live each core value, and how they are a part of me.
This may not be a perfect way to write a personal statement, but it worked for me.
Lastly, this may go without saying, but proofread the crap out of the whole application.  Have others do the same.  Have your annoying grammar Nazi friend look at it.  It’ll help.  After all that, I still found a mistake after I had submitted my final application.
Conclusion
You can do this, I know you can.  I did.  Many others have too.  If you were a non-select before, getting selected later is so much sweeter, because you understand the pain of not being selected.  Good luck!
29
May

OTS Applicant Profile

In my opinion this is THE MOST IMPORTANT document of your application.  I believe this is the document which the board actually reviews (along with the other documents in the “app” “packet”), and the board only uses the other “packets” you submitted for reference.  I could be wrong, but I think it is hard to argue the importance of this document regardless of how it is used.

I think of applying for OTS as a really long and in-depth job interview, and I think of the OTS Applicant Profile as the resume.  No-one wants to sift through all of your EPRs to decipher your career.  The board wants to see your ability to present yourself, and will judge your record based on how and what is presented.  Their perception of you will largely be determined by the impression they receive from this document.

Attachment 9 of the BOT Guide provides an example of the BOT Applicant Profile.  When I did mine I tried to keep the appearance as close to this example as possible because I considered it a test of my ability to follow instructions, (not to mention my Microsoft Word skills.)  There were no word examples out there, so I assumed the board wanted to test my skills at making something new based on a PDF.

The BOT Applicant Profile is a tangible document which represents how well you fit into the board’s perception of the “whole person concept.”  If you look through the subheadings on the document, it tells the board everything they would want to know.

I went ahead and included screenshots of my actual BOT Applicant Profile, but I changed all of the details to protect my identity.  I am extremely proud of my work and am apprehensive of sharing it with you all, but in the end it does nothing for me anymore and it can help you polish your own application.  If you are proactive enough to be here and read my posts, I suppose you deserve a look at my application 🙂

Personal Information

  • Self explanatory.  Make sure it matches your AF Form 56 and what you put into SharePoint.

AFOQT & PCSM Scores

  • The only weird part about this for me was the ABM score.  I mentioned in another post that the ABM score was not on my AFOQT score sheet so seeing this on the example should have tipped me off on the fact I would need to include this.  In short, get your CSO and ABM score from the web site provided and submit it even if you are applying for a Non-Rated board.
  • I deleted the PCSM and Flying Hours blocks.

Academic Education

  • I had my B.S., then two A.A.S degrees (CCAFs).  B.S. first, then most recent CCAF, then previous CCAF.  I put NA for GPA on my CCAFs.

 

Professional Military Education

  • PME is official military education only, so I put Course 15, SEJEPME, and ALS from most recent to oldest.
  • In my opinion, certifications do not apply and should not be included here.

Career Achievements

  • I listed all of my awards or recognitions from my entire career from most recent to oldest.  I put the year on the far left of each line to reiterate that I was consistently recognized throughout my career.
    • Instead of:
      • 2014 80 CS NCO of the Year, Peterson AFB, CO I put:
      • 2014 – NCO of the Year (Squadron), 80 CS, Peterson AFB, CO.
    • Instead of:
      • 2009 20 AF Airman of the Year, I put
      • 2009 – Airman of the Year, (NAF), 20 AF, Malmstrom AFB, MT.
  • Do you see the difference?  Remember it is all about presentation.  If you do it this way the board can easily scan this section and see you won multiple awards at multiple levels.
  • Take note of the awards I included, and I also included other achievements such as BTZ and Outstanding Performers.  Think outside the box.  Include anything that made you stand out in your career.

Personal Achievements

  • I think I did this section different than most other applicants.  Even if I did volunteer work and did not have an “achievement” per se, I listed it in this section to emphasize I was consistently involved in the community and was often recognized.  I also liked this approach because it told my full story (whole person concept).
    • For example, I had no personal achievements listed from 2006 – 2009 but if you look at my career achievements, that section was filled with multiple Air Force awards.
    • For my career achievements there are no major awards from 2006 – 2009 but if you look at my personal achievements you will see I did a lot more volunteer work during this time period.  Again, whole person concept.  NOTE:  Dates changed so my point isn’t exactly made by the images, but you get the idea.
  • For this section I included any volunteer work with organization name, graduating with cum laude honors for my bachelor’s, my AFAM for volunteer work (similar to honor guard), and volunteer work as an Airman.  Basically anything that made my personal life stand out.
  • If you notice I omitted the “Professional Affiliations” section from the template.  To be honest it was because I didn’t have much to put there, but whatever I could have put there (AFSA, 5/6) I went ahead and incorporated them into my “Personal Achievements” section.  I think this painted a better big picture of my off duty time which still met the intent of both sections combined.  I also figured this section was likely more tailored to civilians.
Work Experience
  • This is your opportunity to make your daily (perhaps boring) job shine like a diamond.  The biggest mistake people make here in my opinion is copying your bullets from your EPR and pasting them here.  This is exactly what you SHOULD NOT do because the language on EPRs is so cryptic to an O-6, and they can read if on your EPR if they really wanted to.
  • The concepts I used for this section I actually learned during the resume portion of the TAP class.  TAP is the transition assistance class the Department of Labor offers to all military who are separating.  A few years ago that was me so I took the class.  Even though I am still in I have incorporated every concept I learned in that class even into my military life.  It drastically improved my 1206s for troops, EPR bullets, decoration, basically all AF writing.
  • Make good use of your space in this section and avoid huge blocks of “white space”.  Each duty position on your vMPF print out should be included on here with 3-4 bullets under each.  For the bullets, review your EPR and pick the top 3-4 things you did where you actually made an impact to the mission.  Tell the board what you did and how you did it (at the O-6 level), and tell the board what the mission impact was.  Take a look at mine to get a feel for it.
  • I had a hard time with this for some of my jobs because I did always have a grasp of how my job impacted the mission.  I did two things to overcome this obstacle:
    • Reach out to SNCO’s or people who have been around your mission for a LONG TIME.  Ask them to explain the overall mission of your unit, and then consider how you fit into it.
    • Think to yourself what would have happened if you DID NOT do your job.  For one of my Security Forces ones, if I did not do my job someone may have stolen a plane, and if they stole the plane it would have detracted from combat ops.
  • Be sure all of the dates match up correctly, and put your current job on top and first job at the bottom.
  • There are no rules here.  Say what you need to say in a way an O-6 can understand it.  If you need to do a short fragment sentence to get your point across do it.
  • Remember, this section is ALL ABOUT THE MISSION.  Did you impact the mission or did you just go with the flow and do as you were told.

Enlistments of the Uniformed Services, Law Violations

  • Be sure the dates you put here match both your AF56 and vMPF print out.  In my opinion a normal active duty person should only have one entry here even if your career field is crazy and you technically went through three AFSCs.  Unless your job dramatically changed, it probably isn’t relevant to the board.
  • I was a retrainee so I had two entries.  I put my latest duty title for both.
Law Violations
  • I had a lot.  My offenses are accurate but I of course changed the dates and places.  I considered addressing these violations in my PS but I did not want to point them out to the board, and I thought it was fairly obvious I was a crazy teenager but grew up.
Air Force Specialty Choices
  • I listed my top five choices here exactly how they were shown in the AFSC attachment (Attachment 7 of BOT Guide).
Personal Statement
  • Copy/Paste from AF Form 56.  I did not do paragraphs on this one either, just one block of text.
Signature, Initials, and Date
  • Sign, date, and don’t forget to initial each page.  O-6s will probably see your signature so I would make sure it looks professional.
Final Notes
  • Make sure the overall formatting of the entire document is consistent.  Font, spaces between lines, margins, everything.  Find someone for an eye for this to proof your work.  Luckily I had an eye for it so it made the review much easier.
  • Make good use of both white space and text.  If there is a giant block of text, use bold or underlines to break it up.
  • Use page breaks to group all of the sections together as much as possible.  For mine Page 1 was academic through career, page 2 was personal achievements through three duty assignments, page 3 was three duty assignments through law violations, and page 4 were my AFSC choices and personal statement.  It was beautiful.
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