Become a Cop >> Browse Articles >> Career Resources


Ten Common Ways to NOT Get Hired

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.

Wondering if you’re ready for Law Enforcement?
Check out our free online test Would You Pass the Police Exam? to find out!

Continue Reading The List>>>

  • 1236128737_l_max50


    over 6 years ago


    Forgive me, but I noticed an error that I must correct. "You have natural talent, you’ve watched allot of “CSI” and “Law and Order” and you’re ready for the big time." "Allot" isn't a word, the correct spelling and grammar would be "a lot."

  • Illinoisseal2_max50


    over 6 years ago


    holy cow is this dead on. As a supervisor I sit in on most interviews and this is really how the new generation of rookies think. Great article!

  • X8f5sca71g38acavd0txzcayq2yuacav0ezf3cam6q906caxqyg15ca826thzca02wy8jcav2mnyzcagtxtx7cav4vr89cahavncdca8bg7mvcaflj1ppcarddv6dcaista73caj22iaocayhe36icakdmp0z_max50


    over 6 years ago


    I would swear that 3 out of 4 of our last recruits the department hired followed each step of this list to the letter. We have effectively weeded out all the A- personality types who could hold their own on the street and hired a bunch of spoiled kids.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 6 years ago


    Wait a minute. Somebody actually makes good money doing this job?

  • Photo_user_banned_big


    over 6 years ago


    I like it

  • Patch2_max50


    over 6 years ago


    Good Call.

  • Caduceus_max50


    over 6 years ago



  • Tbird_max600_max50


    over 6 years ago


    On da money

  • Demotivators_2010_2691103_1__max50


    over 6 years ago


    Fortunately, most of the knuckleheads who are unable to read between the lines of this article will not be applying for law enforcement jobs. Very well-written. Reminds me of Ann Coulter's writing style.

PoliceLink School Finder

Save time in your search for a criminal justice degree program. Use PoliceLink's School Finder to locate schools online and in your area.

Get Info

* In the event that we cannot find a program from one of our partner schools that matches your specific area of interest, we may show schools with similar or unrelated programs.

Recent Activity

00catwoman0911 posted in: "Forums tab", 14 minutes ago.
00catwoman0911 posted in: "Forums tab", 16 minutes ago.
bill9823 posted: "Forums tab", 20 minutes ago.
bill9823 posted in: "Forums tab", 20 minutes ago.