Advice and Info About Enlisting Into the Marine Corps

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WARNING: Some of the information in this section may or may not apply to you. The process of signing for your desired job and component (active or reserves) will vary from person to person which is why it is important to have as much info on this topic as possible before seeing a recruiter. Many factors come into play when choosing and acquiring your job, so do not expect this process to be as simple as 1-2-3, Once again, the process of getting the job/contract that you want varies from person to person and it is always in your best interest to remain on top of things and to not assume things are getting done for you.
Below are several things you need to be aware of before you visit with your recruiter, and let me say this very clearly: Do not feel pressured to enlist if your desired job is not open/available at that time or if you are being told/pressured to accept any job including an open contract just to get you enlisted. If you do, then you are at fault if things do not work out for you. You cannot forget that this is your life and you have every right to be the one in control.
  • Only reserve contracts can choose their exact job. Active duty contracts can only pick their job's field and you will be placed into a job within that field at a later date. Example: If you pick the reserves, you can pick your exact job such as 0311 if it is offered to you. If you go active duty you can only pick the 03xx MOS field and while in infantry school you may or may not be allowed to pick your exact job within the 03xx MOS field. There are maybe 3-4 jobs active duty poolees can pick where you are guaranteed your exact job. One example would be the band MOS.  But for the most part, you will pick a job field or a contract type with multiple jobs under it. An example of this would be if you wanted to be a combat engineer. You cannot pick the exact job of combat engineer. You have to accept whatever contract the combat engineer job falls under and in this contract will be several other jobs you can end up in, so make sure you understand this.

  • If you enlist into the reserves, not all jobs will be offered to you. You can only pick a job that is available in your area. Your recruiter is the only one who knows what jobs will be offered to you as a reservist, so don't try searching for any list online.

  • The jobs you qualify for are based on your ASVAB test scores and on whether you need any waivers to enlist. So you need to take this test first to see what jobs you qualify for. Right now you should have a decent idea of how you will score on the ASVAB. How you did in high school grades wise is a good indicator of how you will do in your ASVAB. Be aware here are other things used to determine what jobs you qualify for such as driver's license, being color blind, being able to obtain a higher security clearance and several other things.

  • Try to have three different job fields picked out that you would like to serve in before agreeing to anything. Unless you are dead set on a certain MOS field, you need to have three different options picked out and you go from there. By doing this you increase the chances of you getting one of your desired jobs. And notice I said three "different" MOS fields. An MOS "field" being the entire MOS such as Communications, and Infantry. Within fields are specific jobs.

  • Do not sign for any job because you feel pressured or are put on the spot.<<< This is a common mistake. Research the jobs that interest you before you sign for it. Do not put yourself in the position of wanting to switch your job at a later date because this isn't always as simple as asking. I cannot stress this point enough: Do not agree to a job unless you are 100 percent certain this is the job you wish to serve in. for your entire first enlistment.

  • Do not go into your enlistment with the attitude of, "I don't care what job I get, I just want to be a Marine." That attitude deserves a big OOH RAH and a high-five, but you are going to regret it later on down the road. Trust me, it is very important that you choose your own job.

  • Any job that is "closed" or "not available" at that time will eventually become available again. So if you really want a specific job, learn to wait for it or make it very clear to your recruiters that you will only ship out with your desired job. It is always going to be up to you to keep the pressure on to get your job contract done.

  • In most cases your recruiter is going to offer you (show you a list) certain jobs and you are going to feel pressured to pick one of those jobs despite you not wanting any of those jobs. If you find yourself in this awkward position you have every right to refuse those jobs and as always, you have every right to wait for your desired job/contract. I know most of you will end up picking one of those jobs because you are afraid to say no. Just understand if you don't want one of those jobs on the list, then don't agree to accept one.

  • If you are dead set on having a specific job, no one is going to put a gun to your head and force you to accept and agree to a different job. So in the end it is you who decides what job/field you will pick. Being patient, knowing your rights, and sticking by your plan will get you what you want in most cases. Carefree, gullible, hesitant, and impatient types will usually end up accepting one of the jobs that is shoved in front of their faces for the simple fact that they are afraid to stand up for themselves.

  • A good recruiter who truly does care about each of you will try his best to get you the job you want. So understand that in some rare cases his hands are going to be tied by USMC politics and you may have to change your plans. I strongly suggest you get to know your recruiter as best as possible and if you feel he or she is doing you wrong,  then find a different one or come back when they leave, or roll your dice and hope for the best.

  • I speak to poolees on almost a daily basis and I often ask them if they have already secured their desired MOS. or an MOS they wanted and picked. Here are some of the replies I get from poolees: 1) My recruiter said I can pick my job while in boot camp, so I'm shipping with an open contract. 2) My recruiter said my job has been taken care of and he gives me the thumbs-up. 3) My recruiter said he is still waiting on the word from his superiors. 4) My recruiter said my desired job was given to someone else, so I picked one of the jobs I didn't want from his "list.", 5) My recruiter avoids the issue when I bring it up......and many others. If you find yourself in either of these positions during the final month before you are to ship to boot camp, please contact this website so we may assist you in pulling your head out of your ass in hopes of righting a wrong that is obviously taking place, or feel free to exercise your DEP rights, or do what most poolees do and go ahead and ship and then bitch and moan once you are a Marine about how you got fucked over.

  • If your desired job requires things such as perfect vision, or a security clearance, or a specific swim qual level, and if you enlist and don't meet your required qualifications, guess what? There go your hopes of getting that job, so think about this before enlisting with the hopes of acquiring a specific job. Example: Intel requires a Top Secret clearance and if you don't get one, you are shit out of luck. So make sure you can pass the background check. And before agreeing to anything, ask your recruiter what extra qualifications you must meet to acquire your desired MOS and have him clearly explain to you what will happen if you fail to meet any of the required qualifications.

  • "Open contracts" are you agreeing to let the USMC place you into a job. You do not always get a "shitty" job under an open contract and those who ship with open contracts are not always low ASVAB scorers. Open contracts can land you in any job that you qualify for based on your ASVAB line scores. I have seen open contracts end up as radio operators, engineers, radar techs, admin, and many other MOS's. The lower your scores are, the less jobs you can be placed in while the higher your line scores, the more options the USMC has when placing you into your job. You should try your best to avoid shipping with an open contract, but if this is your only choice, then so be it.

  • You cannot pick jobs such as Marsoc, Recruiter, Drill Instructor, Embassy Guard, Silent Drill Team, Sniper and several others when enlisting. Those are jobs you can look into at a later date once in the USMC.

  • If you pick a contract such as the Recon Option (UZ), make sure you clearly understand that if you fail the recon part, you basically become an open contract and can end up in any job the USMC decides to place you in. Do your best to understand the contract you are agreeing to before you sign for it. I know there is pressure to sign things when enlisting, but you must pay attention and understand what you are getting into before it is too late.

  • If you are told that your job has been assigned to you, have them prove this to you. Your name and shipping info along with your MOS should appear somewhere in their master files and or on the computer. Do not just take their word for it and do not assume it is a done deal just because they say so or show you a cool marker board hanging in the office with your name on it. There has to be some official record of your info slotted with your MOS and you have every right to see this. As always, if your recruiter cannot help you, go see his or her boss and explain the situation to them.

  • Keep in mind that some contracts will be for a specific job field while other contracts will have several different jobs that you can end up in. It is your responsibility to know about all the jobs you can end up in under your contract. Remember folks, there is a difference in picking a job field and in picking a contract that contains a wide variety of jobs. 

  • What more can I say. Sometimes poolees do get fucked over, but most of the time they do so because they allow for this to happen. And the majority of poolees do get to ship with their desired contract, so don't let this page scare you. Just clearly understand that the process is different for everyone.
The main problem is that once you enlist without a job, they sort of have you by the balls because you think you have no choice but to ship out with whatever job they offer you. No matter what promises anyone makes to you, what are you going to do if one of your desired jobs is never offered to you? Hopefully you have done your homework and have three job fields picked out. By doing this you have three chances of securing a job you want. If you don't get offered one of your job choices then you have to make a serious decision. Either accept a different job you are ok with, or stand your ground and only accept one of your desired jobs. If this means having your ship date moved back, then so be it. If it means you backing out of the DEP, then so be it. It all comes down to how much you really want a certain job. Don't let them scare you by telling you that you wont be allowed back in if you exit the DEP or anything silly like that. Here is the fucked up part folks: You do have the right to ask for changes, but whether they will work with you is something you wont know until you ask. This is why you must be flexible and never sign for anything unless it is what you want. Ask questions BEFORE and not after.
Beware of guilt trips:  Do not feel bad when recruiters try to lay guilt trips on you to force you to accept whatever contract they are telling you to accept. A common ploy is recruiters telling you that if you want a specific job, you should join a different branch or if you truly want to be a Marine, then what difference does your job matter. Fuck all of that. This is the year 2016 and not the good ole day of past, so don't let them walk all over you. I guarantee you that in most cases your recruiter didn't enlist with an open contract nor would they let their own kid join with an open contract.
Recruiting can be an ugly thing, so don't always believe what you are told. It is amazing to see a military branch that preaches integrity, brotherhood, honesty and all of that good stuff totally disregard their values when it comes to recruiting. Why would the USMC start your career off by fucking you with your job? Perhaps this is why many Marines hate serving. Do not be afraid to speak to your recruiter's boss and if needed, the bosses boss. It is amazing to see the USMC change your ship date and or job without letting you know, so why in the hell can't you ask to change your ship date to meet your desires?
Changing jobs after 2 years: Do not buy into this bullshit that many recruiters love to spew. You must assume that you will serve all of your enlistment with the job you shipped with. The USMC allows you to request to change jobs at your two year mark, but trust me folks, this doesn't mean the USMC is going to grant your request. Does it make sense for the USMC to spend thousands of dollars to train you in one job only to have you do this job for a year or less and then spend thousands more to teach you a new job only to have you do this job for a year or two? Think about it folks. Ask around to see how many Marines you can find that changed their job at the two year mark. Good luck with that!
Remember, the closer your ship date gets and you have yet to sign for your desired job, the more pressure you are going to feel and this is going to cause you to accept whatever job they place in front of you. Get your shit done as soon as possible to avoid all of this drama.


  • If your ship dates gets moved, be sure to ensure that you still have the same job. Many times when moving your ship date you can lose your job and you will be given the job someone else had who you are replacing. Don't assume shit. Have it explained and have it shown to you in a contract.

  • Learn to be patient. Don't feel pressured to enlist right now if your job isn't available. If you do, then you're taking the risk.

  • Enlisting with an open contract or "unassigned"  is ok, just make sure you get your job signed for before you ship out.

  • All jobs eventually open back up, so don't freak out if your job is not open at this time.

  • Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself. This is your life and you need to take control of it. One of the biggest mistakes made by many of you is you let your recruiter walk all over you just because you feel intimidated.

  • Do not think that you can change your job after one or two years. That wont happen and don't let anyone blow smoke up your ass. Always assume that the job you ship to boot camp with will be the job you do for your entire enlistment.

  • The securing of your job is probably the biggest pain in the ass part of this entire process. How the process goes for you will depend on: 1) when you enlist, 2) how motivated your recruiter is, 3) how many issues you have to get enlisted, and 4) on the current needs of the USMC.

  • Keep in mind that your job choices are determined by what you score on your asvab test and on what is available at the time of your enlistment. The higher you score the more jobs that will be open to you.

  • Active duty enlistees can only pick a MOS job field such as 03xx and the USMC will decide where exactly you will be placed at a later date. Reserve contracts are allowed to pick their exact MOS such as 0311 if available. Not all jobs are available to reserve enlistee.

  • And yes, from time to time a boot Marine or recruit  will have his job changed while in boot camp or soon after for no good reason. I don't know why this happens, but I have heard of it taking place. It is a very rare event and I think it has something to do with the "needs of the USMC" at that time.