Ten Common Ways to NOT Get Hired
Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith
You don’t really want to be a cop, do you? Fighting crime, saving lives, big guns, fast cars, a cool uniform, hot calls; that stuff’s not for you. The hours are long, the gratitude is short-lived, and there may occasionally be people trying to kill you when you’re just trying to make a living and do a little good. Take some advice from the front lines of police hiring and training, here’s ten way to make sure you do not get hired by any law enforcement agency.
10. That 20-page application they want you to fill out? Just consider that pesky document merely a guideline; they can’t possibly expect you to waste your time filling out every single box, blank, and question. Why would anyone really want a certified copy of your high school transcripts, an official duplicate of your birth certificate, and an accurate list of everywhere you’ve ever worked or lived.? Do they really need to know how to contact your grandparents, your old roommate and your college resident assistant? Just fill out what you can, you’ll have plenty of time to show them how organized and thorough you are once they bring you on board as one of their officers.
9. Don’t worry about your level of fitness. Police testing can take a long time; you may sit on an eligibility list for months, even years, before you begin the academy. So why worry about what kind of shape you’re in? Wait until you get confirmation that you’re about to start recruit training to get serious about working out, especially if you have youth on your side. You played high school football, you’re on a summer softball league, and you’re awesome at Wii boxing so you’ll get in shape in no time, right?
8. Always remember that you are owed a good police job. Don’t think that you have to work hard, prove yourself, or compete with anyone else; you are entitled to this opportunity. After all, how many people are willing to make the sacrifices you’ll have to make as a crimefighter: working shifts, facing down armed criminals, cutting your hair really short? They should feel fortunate that you’ve chosen to apply at their agency, and it’s that agency’s responsibility to make sure your career dreams are realized.
7. Make sure your social networking sites show what a fun-loving party animal you really are. The person doing your background check will certainly get a chuckle out of that picture of you passed out in front of your fraternity’s record-breaking beer can pyramid. And those racy boudoir portraits you had taken for your ex-boyfriend, the ones of you wearing nothing but a toy shoulder holster and a smile? I’m sure the chief of police will understand that it’s not your fault that your ex posted them on his My Space page after you guys broke up, complete with all of your contact information. Besides, the cops can’t actually access that stuff, can they? Can they!?
6. Why worry about your personal appearance? “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” isn’t that what your grandma always said? You’re applying to be a cop, not a Marine or a Wall Street broker. When you show up for the physical agility test, everyone is sure to love your Female Body Inspector t-shirt you bought in Cancun, or be impressed with those Victoria’s Secret PINK short shorts you just got at the mall. Besides, that scruffy Brad Pitt look or the high school Goth girl fashion statement may be just what they’re looking for in the Narcotics Unit of the agency you’re applying for.
5. Don’t bother to read anything more difficult or thought provoking than the latest issue of People magazine or your buddy’s fantasy football blog. Even though studies show that the number one predictor of success in the police academy is your level of reading comprehension, you did more than enough reading in school, and it was painfully boring then. Reading actual books interferes with your emailing, texting, Skyping, and keeping up with all that great reality TV. You’ll have no problem catching up once you’re in the academy.