The Navy Counselor (NC) rating is divided into two service ratings: NC Counselor (NCC) and NC Recruiters (NCR). Jobs in the NCC service rating—Career Specialist, Chief Career Counselor, and Command Career Counselors—all revolve around the retention of veteran Sailors by making the service’s multitude of career-advancement opportunities widely known and understood.

NC Recruiters, on the other hand, work one of two jobs—Recruiting Manager or Recruiting Supervisor—with a single purpose: to meet accession goals that have been set in order to replace Sailors who are either retiring or leaving the service for other reasons. Note that limited military budgets, including for the U.S. Navy, means that exceeding accession goals is not necessarily a good thing.

A huge component of the jobs of the Recruiting Managers and Supervisors is Production, Prospecting, and Marketing. Though it might sound crass, NC Recruiters are competing in a marketplace of jobs and lifestyle choices, and in effect must effectively “sell” recruits on the benefits of Naval enlistment.

You might think this is not too tall of an order, given the incredible multitude of highly specialized jobs in today’s Navy. But Sailors serving in the NC Recruiter rating face several obstacles. The first is an improving employment market. During the economic downturn that began in 2007, recruitment figures for all branches of the Armed Forces spiked upward as young people understood that their best chances of launching a successful career also happened to involve them serving their country. With unemployment levels declining and civilian jobs expanding, NC Recruiters must focus on the one-of-a-kind benefits and opportunities afforded by a career in the Navy, which inescapably must touch upon the avenues of employment open to enlisted personnel once their Naval caeers draw to a close.

A second challenge is addressing issues of gender equality, a hot-button issue that has been shoved into the limelight during 2016 thanks in part to nationwide elections and referendums. One example is the response to a Navy recruiting flyer mailed to over 200,000 households in eight states, primarily in the West and Midwest.

Written over five years ago, the intent of the flyer—to encourage women to enlist and pursue careers that might not otherwise envision for themselves—was completely overlooked because of language describing “the kind of exciting, hands-on work that most girls aren't even aware of” and informing women they do that work while “staying in touch with your feminine side.” Rather than lauding the service for attempting to boost female enlistment, a brouhaha erupted because some interpreted the flyer as a rehashing of stereotypes.

But in spite of an improving economy, NC Recruiters have consistently met their goals. In 2015, for instance, the U.S. Navy had set a goal of 25,380 accessions for the end June during Fiscal Year 2015—and an August Department of Defense press released indicated that the Navy had hit that mark precisely


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