Your unit will announce when they're considering promotion board packets. They'll send correspondence to their subordinate units. This correspondence will outline what they expect the packet to look like. In many cases, they'll ask for the "Promotion Packet Composition, Elections and Preferences" on the folder's left. They'll ask for Tab's A through E on the folder's right.
What you'll need:
Before you start, make sure that you have the following: Two-hole-punch; a manila folder, two sheets, tabbed, with metal clasps centered at the top on each side; cut-out single manila folder sheets to separate the different tabs; tab labels; and your promotion packet parts.
Your unit should have the manila folder with clasps centered on the top. All you need is one that opens up, two sheets only. You could purchase the plastic tabs at a store that sells office supplies. These usually come with instructions on how to produce the labels on Microsoft Word. You'll have to access a website to download the template.
Make copies of your packet items, both hardcopy and digital.
Make sure that you make copies of your packet, both hard copy and electronic. Scan every item in your promotion packet. Save these in a folder on your computer, then save that folder to multiple computers, multiple saving devices, and personal storage accounts on the Internet.
Here's how it's supposed to work .
Before moving on, here's a breakdown of the "Promotion Packet Composition, Elections and Preferences" tab system.
Your Army promotion packet will have the items from Section B of the "Promotion Packet Composition, Elections and Preferences" form. You'll see three columns titled; Initials, Tab, and Description / Instructions. The first two blank spaces under the "Tab" column are for items that will be at the top of the right side of your packet. They do not have their own tab label.
When the reviewer opens your packet, he or she will see the "Promotion Packet Composition, Elections and Preferences" form on the left side. They'll see your promotion point computation worksheet (SGT / SSG promotion) on the right. This is the DA Form 3355. If you're writing a letter to the President of the Board, this'll be under your promotion points computation sheet.
Under your promotion points worksheet, the reviewer will see a bunch of "tabs" to the side. These tabs are named after the tab number, or letter, that you'll find under the tab column. Each tab will be labeled as follows: A, B, B-1, B-2, B-3, B-4, B-5, B-6, B-7, C, D, and E.
When the reviewer holds the tab-label holding "B" and lifts the attached single manila folder sheet that it's attached to, he'll see your DA Forms 2A and 2-1. When he lifts the B-1 tab, and attached folder, he'll see your PT card. This concept applies throughout the Army promotion packet. Use the "Promotion Packet Composition, Elections and Preferences" sheet as a guide.
How to put the packet together:
Place the "Promotion Packet Composition, Elections and Preferences" on the left side. Apply the two-hole punch, then put it on the clasps on the left.
Have several single sheets of manila folder sides ready. Start at "E," this is your "Tab E." As of this writing, it includes military awards, decorations, and letters / certificates of commendation appreciation or achievement.
Align the two-hole punch to the metal tabs, then adjust the metal measuring device. You do not want your copies to fold when you close your promotion folder. After placing copies of your awards documentation, take the first manila folder sheet. Use the same two-hole-punch principles that you did before. Place that manila sheet over your awards documentation.
Turn to the items that go into section "D," your "Tab D." As of this writing, this tab contains your military reports, like DA Form 1059, and other evidence of military education. Make sure you include the DA 1059 from your latest NCOES course. Include all of your DA Form 1059s in this section. Apply the two-hole punch using the same principles that you applied when working with section E (Tab E). When you get all the documents in, apply the two-hole punch on the single manila folder sheet. Put that on top of your section "D" items.
Repeat this process for the remainder of the packet. Each tab gets its own section. When you're done, the tabs, on the right, will be in the order they show up under the "tab" column.
Attach the tab-labels, to the single manila folder sheets, after you put the packet together.
You could either type, or hand print, the tab-labels. Since you want your work to stand out, you want to type those labels. Read the directions for the size of the tabs that you purchase. They'll provide you with instructions on how you could download a ready made tab sheet. Type the above tab labels into the blocks, then save. Print these tab labels out. Cut them out and slide them into their respective tabs … one by one.
Once you get done, do a final look through. Go through every item in every section of the promotion packet. Make sure that you signed everything that you're supposed to sign. Once you're complete, submit it to your first line leader. Make sure you're available to make corrections.
Some helpful tips.
1. Take your professional counseling sessions, formal and informal, seriously. Promotions are earned. Even if you're in the primary zone for promotion, your leadership does not have to recommend you. If you're not ready for promotion, they'll provide you with a counseling statement explaining why.
2. Strive to perform at the capacity expected at the next higher rank. Never stop learning your MOS. Always build on the MOS knowledge that you already have.
3. Start building your promotion packet early, before you're eligible for promotion. Update it as soon as you gain more promotion points. Sometimes, promotion boards are announced at times where you would not have enough time to put a promotion packet together.
4. Max out on your APFT and your weapon qualification scores. Do additional PT in addition to morning PT. Civilian gun ranges offer opportunities to improve your marksmanship between Army range visits.
5. Army correspondence courses are the easiest points to get. If you're not doing Army correspondence courses, you're denying yourself easy promotion points.
6. Obtain a copy of the "Course Promotion Point Eligibility" document. This document lists courses that qualify for promotion points. Try to get registered for the courses that offer promotion points.
7. Take on-line college courses if your training schedule allows you enough time.