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/field contract 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 from as many sources as possible.

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. Below are several general things you need to be aware of before you visit with your recruiter, and let me say this again and let me be very clear: This process is not the same for everyone and you cannot be naive and give in to recruiters just because your goal is to become a Marine. If you choose to believe in “future undocumented promises" and if you choose to fall for “guilt trips," then that is strictly on you. And if you choose to rush into this process only to later on want to change your job contract, don't be surprised if your recruiter tells you that you are stuck with what you already agreed to.

For the purpose of this writing an MOS  is the specific job while an MOS FIELD is all the jobs under that specific field. Example: 0311 is the specific Rifleman job which falls under the MOS field of 03xx/Infantry which contains several jobs that begin with 03. If you pick the 03 contract this means later on while at grunt school you may or may not be allowed to pick your exact 03 job.


Reserve enlistees are allowed to pick their exact job. This means if you enlist into the reserves you can pick your exact job such as 0311 or whatever, but there is a catch. Your job choices will be limited to your specific area and the job you want must be open and of course you must qualify for this job. Do not search for these jobs online because they don’t exist. You need to ask your local recruiter and not just any recruiter about what jobs are offered in your area.


Active duty enlistees will only pick their desired job’s field such as 03xx or you will pick a job contract which contains several jobs in which you may end up in. There are very few active duty jobs where you can pick your exact job. Two examples would be the band job and the parachute rigger job, but for the most part you won’t be picking your exact job if you go active duty.


Aside from your test scores there 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, so ask because I have heard of poolees picking and signing for a job only to find out later they don’t qualify for it and its at this point you are at risk of having to settle for a job or you’ll be pressured to take some job you never heard of.


Do not sign for any job contract just 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 and research all of the jobs under the contract you want and understand clearly you cannot be guaranteed a specific job if you sign a contract with multiple jobs under it. Example: If you want to be a combat engineer in active duty, there is no contract strictly for this job. You may think you are signing for this job and you of been led to believe you signed for this job, but in reality you signed for a contract that contains several jobs under it one being combat engineer and your ass can end up in any of the jobs listed under that contract. This is why it is important you clearly understand the contract you are signing for.


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 most likely going to regret it later on down the road. Trust me, it is very important that you choose your own job.


There is nothing wrong with making it very clear from the start you want job/contract X and plan to not pursue this dream unless this happens. This is your right, but whether your recruiters will try to accommodate you or not is entirely up to them.


Do not let recruiters feed you loads of crap such as, “I thought you wanted to be a Marine first” or “What difference does your job make as long as you are a Marine.” If you are being fed these guilt trips then why not ask your recruiter this question: If he had a son or daughter in your shoes would your recruiter be cool with letting them enlist with just any job, or would he prefer their offspring pick a job they wanted. Think about it!


Do not feel pressured to sign for anything unless you 100 percent know what you are signing. Don’t be afraid to ask your recruiter to explain things in a more clearer manner. Don’t make the common mistake of asking questions after you’ve agreed to things because getting things changed isn’t as simple as just asking despite it being your right.


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 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. Many recruiters want to get you what you want, but jobs close, things change, spaces need to be filled and they may not always have control of these situations.


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 understand these situations often end with the poolee not being very happy, so try your best to get your job contract signed as soon as possible.


"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 option, 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. If you’re scared to ask because you think they may be offended, then that is on you. This is your future, so it’s in your best interest to stay on top of it.


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 and most recruiters do care and aren’t going to screw you over.

The main problem is that once you enlist, 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 and on the given date. 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.

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 at times. Why would the USMC start your career off by fucking you over with your job? Perhaps this is why many Marines hate serving in the USMC. 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? Just don't wait until the last minute to ask for any changes and don't be one of these freaks who changes his mind every time the wind changes.

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! Always assume that the job you ship to boot camp with will be the job you do for your entire enlistment.

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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.