story by Nicole Hawk (article)
If you’re one of the more than 3,200 active duty officers or warrant officers identified to move, or a unit welcoming new talent to your ranks, you probably have questions about the new Assignment Interactive Module, or AIM.
AIM is a web based system designed to advance Army talent management, while ensuring readiness. Providing data and tools to help the U.S. Army Human Resources Command (HRC) place the right officers in the right position at the right time.
The AIM marketplace encourages communication between officers and units and enables them to voice their preferences for one another. Officers get more control over their careers while taking into account family considerations. And, for the first time, units get a say in who fills which positions.
That said, we’ve come up with the top 5 things officers and units should know about AIM to make the system work for them.
#1 Go early and often.
The AIM marketplace is open to officers and units at the same time so that officers moving into their next assignment and units seeking to fill assignments can communicate. Units can filter potential candidates by whether or not the officer expressed interest in an assignment by filtering for officers who put the assignment in their top 10%. Officers scheduled to move should make their initial preferences early on in the process and check back frequently.
Reaching out to units you are interested in and asking questions about assignments could help you separate yourself from the crowd.
Even if you’re not scheduled to move, the Army’s 90,000+ active duty officers or warrant officers can login to AIM anytime to start learning. In addition to displaying recent and upcoming assignments, AIM increases transparency by allowing you to see every assignment in every career field across the Army.
#2 Resume. Resume. Resume.
Simply put, officers who have a resume in AIM are more likely to receive a positive vote from units than officers who don’t have a resume. Units can filter officers by specific skills and talents, so take time to build a strong resume. Don’t wait until you’re scheduled to move to start working on your resume.
Officers should also read through their market’s rules of engagement (ROE) prior to preferencing units. ROE is how HRC’s Officer Personnel Management Directorate (OPMD) implements proponent and senior leader career guidance. Paying attention to the ROE helps officers figure out which positions they are actually qualified for and which ones best match their skill set.
#3 Preferencing makes a difference.
In the last moving cycle, 40% of officers who preferenced units got their most preferred assignment and 75% received an assignment in their top 10%. Remember #1? Go early and often. The sooner officers preference assignments the sooner units will see that they are interested in them – and you can update your preferences any time until the market closes.
Among units who participated in the market, more than 50% of the officers they received were ones they had preferenced. Do keep in mind, even if an officer and a unit are a possible market match, meaning the officer wanted to go to the unit and the unit wanted the officer (i.e. the officer and unit preferenced each other), there are other considerations including readiness that go into the slating process.
#4 Be realistic.
How does hanging out on the sandy beaches of Hawaii or Florida sound to you? Or maybe you’d prefer hitting the slopes in the mountains of Colorado? Pretty good right? Well chances are there are plenty of other officers who are thinking that same exact thing!
And if you’re a unit eyeing one particular officer, there are probably other units interested in them too. Within AIM officers can see how interested their peers are in the positions in their market. The bottom line is officers should preference multiple units rather than focusing on one specific location and units should build a candidate pool by ranking multiple officers.
#5 Marketplace 101.
As with any Army system, you’re not going to learn everything you need to know about AIM the first go around. But every new system has a starting point, and for you that should be the Marketplace 101 video on the AIM landing page. It has simple instructions and tips to make the most of AIM including how to filter information, find good points of contact for both officers and units, and share special assignment considerations with your career coach.
OPMD can’t guarantee officers will always receive their more preferred assignment or that units will receive all of their preferred officers. Career coaches have to take into account readiness and key developmental opportunities, required skills, and programs like the Exceptional Family Member and Married Army Couples programs.
Look at it this way, would you prefer to have a say in your next assignment, or would you rather sit back and let others decide for you? AIM is your opportunity to highlight your strengths and influence what the right position at the right location and the right time means for you.