Articles

11 things your recruiter told you (and what they really meant)

Joining the military is a life-changing decision that begins at the recruiter's office, but he or she isn't always forthcoming with the full deal, as we say.


While some military recruiters are helpful and consider themselves life coaches rather than a salesmen, they are all under pressure to meet their quotas.

These are 11 things recruiters might tell you, (along with what they're really saying):

1. You'll travel to exotic places.

This may be true but your definition of "exotic location" may be different than a recruiter's definition. The word "exotic" may evoke imagery of Hawaii, when the recruiter really means Afghanistan. Where you may travel also depends heavily on which branch of service you join and what job you get.

2. Don't want to be in combat? There are plenty of non-combat jobs available.

Having a non-combat job does not mean you will not be deployed to a combat zone. It simply means your chances of seeing combat are much less.

3. You can go to college while on active duty.

This is technically true but it can often be very difficult completing classes due to deployments, training schedules, and your unit operational tempo.

4. You have a good ASVAB score so you'll get a good job.

While having a good ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) test score can qualify you for specific jobs, it does not actually guarantee you anything. Make sure you get it in writing.

5. You only serve for 4 years.

While your initial active duty enlistment contract can vary in years (3, 4, 6) it is important to know that your inactive service time can extend much further. For example, A typical 4 year active duty enlistment normally includes another 4 year inactive ready reserve obligation. What that means is, once you get out, there is a small chance that you can be pulled back in.

6. Your job is guaranteed.

The job you sign up for is one of the most critical decisions you make so it's important you get it guaranteed in your contract. However, your job is only guaranteed if you make it through all your initial training successfully. Should you fail or get into disciplinary trouble, your job can change and it will be at your branch's discretion, not yours.

Just because you have Navy SEAL on your contract doesn't mean you are guaranteed to be one.

7. You will get a wish list of bases to get stationed at.

Chances are you will be able to send in a wish list of bases to be stationed at but it does not guarantee anything. In regards to this, you'll likely hear "needs of the Marine Corps" or "needs of the Army" if you ask why you didn't get what you wanted.

8. Your military school credits will transfer over to a college.

This can be true, but this often heavily depends on the job you choose and if the college you are attending is military-friendly and accepts those credits.

9. Your military job skills translate directly to civilian job skills.

The skills you learn as a mortarman, cook, and many others may not translate directly to a post service career, but chances are you learned many skills that will. Leadership, initiative, work ethic, responsibility, and team work are examples of general skills all military service members acquire.  Fortunately, there are also careers that give military preference.

10. You can get bonus money.

Sure, the bonus money is great but it's being offered for a reason. It's possible the job may not be desirable or the contract length may be longer. Make sure you fully understand all that is required to receive it.

11. There's a waiver for everything.

Getting a waiver for something that would otherwise disqualify you for military service is possible. However, the likelihood of you getting one is dependent on how bad the branch of service needs new recruits. Currently, it is getting much harder to join the military.

BONUS: You will become a better person.

For the majority of veterans, this is 100% true.

NOW: 9 reasons candidates are disqualified from military service >

OR: The 7 funniest Yelp reviews for military bases >

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