General Forums >> Law Enforcement Careers >> seems tough out there

Rate

seems tough out there

714 Views
30 Replies Flag as inappropriate
Policeprofilepic_max50

18 posts

back to top

Posted over 3 years ago

 

Jeesh!  So I completed the academy just over three months ago.  I have been submitting applications like a madman all through out the entire state of Oregon.  I've attended several testing phases for several agencies (both written and physical).  I am scoring an average of 95% on written tests and completing the physical stuff with time to spare.  I completed the academy being ranked in the top 10 of my class.  My background is clean.  I haven't any military or college background.  I attended my first oral board just a couple days ago, and I didn't leave feeling very confident about it.  I can't seem to get a job.  Wondering if I'm being impatient.  I've noticed that when I show up to test for an open position there are usually about 200 other folks there competing for the same position.  Is the market simply swamped or what?  I'm getting close to giving up on it I think.  I've got a ton of time and money tied up in this endeavor and have always wanted to be a commisssioned police officer but this may just be a terrible time to try to get into the industry.  What's a guy to do?

Vpsomourningband_max50

5220 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 3 years ago

 

Apply at smaller agencies and work your way up (get some experience under your belt).  And yeah, it's a tough market with LEOs being laid off all over the country.  Good luck to you.


Photobucket

~I wondered why somebody didn't do something, then I realized I was somebody. ~ unknown

Untitledma28839986-0002_max50

2259 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 3 years ago

 

Listen to DonnaLynne, she's a smart lady. It is very tough out ther in the LE field. Hang in there and good luck to you.

Avatar_max160_max160_max50

2600 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 3 years ago

 

There is alot and I mean alot more competition than years before.  Keep trying and never give up.


Hello my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die.

"It's not a constitutional violation for a police officer to be a jerk." Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy -December 4, 2000

-9 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 3 years ago

 

Do what you can to build your resume. You say that you don't have college or military. Get a degree if that is possible. If you really want to get into law enforcement, then the hard work and time will pay off. It took me a few interviews, lots and lots of ride-alongs, a reserve position, and lots of proving myself before I got hired. Good luck.

Vpsomourningband_max50

5220 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 3 years ago

 

Post and Introduction even though you've been here awhile, I didn't see one.  Also, read the training areas/quizzes etc. areas.  There is help on just about every step you go though in the hiring process.  If you know of an agency that didn't hire you call and talk to someone who was there to see if he/she will discuss why you were cut.  That may help you strenghten your weak points.


Photobucket

~I wondered why somebody didn't do something, then I realized I was somebody. ~ unknown

Policeprofilepic_max50

18 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 3 years ago

 

I appreciate the great advice.  I'll take your word for it Irish.  Donna sounds like she knows what she is talking about.  I am applying at every agency who posts a position that I believe myself to be qualified (smaller departments included).  That being said, I do get the feeling that I have a better chance at the smaller departments.  I've posted a short introduction aprox. 8 months ago.  you may find it here:  http://policelink.monster.com/topics/74005-good-to-be-here/posts


 Just a momentary bout of frustration I suppose.  I'm over it now.  Truth is that yes it is tough to get one's foot in the door of law enforcement.  I wouldn't want it any other way really.  It can be frustrating starting out, but it's also a comfort to know that the folks I'll be working with some day also underwent rigorous testing and met high standards before being hired to potentially protect my life.  Another thing I need to keep at the forefront of my mind through this process is something that was said to me during my training.  "It's not simply important to find a "job" in law enforcement.  It's equally important to accept and be accepted as a member of  an agency/family of fellow officers and command staff that properly suit me".  I wouldn't want to be hired somewhere only to find out that I don't quite fit in.  That would be a bad start to a major commitment.  I have to trust that the command staff who interview me are considering this in addition to how I appear on paper and will make a good decision for both myself and the department.  I'm sure at some point I'll find the right department after all, it's only been 3 months since finishing the academy.


 Shultzy, unfortunately obtaining a degree at this time is not an option for me.  I wish it were, but it simply isn't feasible given my current obligations.  It would be nice to have the additional strength on my resume, but I have to accept the limitations of the things I've accomplished so far.  I like the idea of perfection, but will tolerate excellence and luckily my previous work experience and the training I do have under my belt qualify me for most places I've applied for.  Granted, I'm not the mazaradi of applicants but I need to remain confident in my desirability to a reasonable extent.  The good thing is that at most places I've applied, my resume/application has been accepted and at the very least I've been invited to test.  I'm always looking for the opportunity to improve both academically and physically.  Sometimes I can thank lazy for my physical limitations but when it comes to academics, it simply boils down to good ol' fashioned dinero.


 I'm not the type to shoot "canned" answers in response to the questions I'm asked during an oral board.  I'm comfortable when being sincere and honest, but with some of the questions I'm asked I'm not real sure what they are looking for.  Example:  "What do you feel makes you the best candidate?"  This seems like a loaded question to me.  Obviously I don't have intel on every other applicant and have no idea what strengths of mine triumph the competition's weaknesses.  I'm guessing this is not the appropriate time for me to stand up and demonstrate my proficiency with numchucks and show off my 3rd degree yellow belt karate moves.  How does one successfully answer this question?  Any thoughts? 

Tribal_cat_tattoo__2__max50

1910 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 3 years ago

 

Hello Billy:  What would make you the best candidate?  You want to think about this question in a sense of, if you were doing the hiring, what would you be looking for in someone.  What the interviewer is wanting to hear is your honest opinion on what makes you the best.  Nothing more and nothing less.  I'm sure you are an honest person with integrity, you believe in and will uphold the law, you are the type of person who is dedicated and committed to serving the community, etc... what personality traits do you have that make you the best as well?  Write down your qualities these qualities and list examples. What does it take to be a successful Police Officer?  What makes you different than everyone else who is applying?  That's what they are looking for.  At least, when I used to interview for positions at my company, those are the questions I was looking for answers.  I wish you lots of luck... I am sure you will do well.  You just have to think about what separates you from everyone else.  It is a tough job market out there.. just don't give up.  Can you volunteer in a police department anywhere?


"Government's first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives." - Ronald Reagan

Walther_ppk_pic_max600_max50

994 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 3 years ago

 

Sometimes it takes time.


I had an Associate Degree and 3yrs Army Military Police in file..... with FireFighter-1 and Certified EMT and it still took me 3-yrs to get on.


On the flip side, When it finally happened.............I got full-time offers from 3 good agencies in the same week.


I have always thought the best chances are where there are mutiple openings.


If you don't mind moving................ think Federal.....like the CBP.


http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/careers/customs_careers/border_careers/


 

Csi_squirrle_max600_1__max50

1470 posts

back to top
+1

Rated +1 | Posted over 3 years ago

 

Billy;  Here is what you are up against.  The economy sucks right now.  Some departments are laying off, and others are in a hiring freeze.  Those laid off officers with experience will have a leg up.  So will friends of the chief, sheriff (yes this is a reality).  Then there is the desire to hire minorities and women.  If you aren't female or a minority equally quailified people are.  The fact that you are getting interviews is good.  If you haven't yet you may want to contact agencies you interviewed with to see if there was a problem causing you to not be hired.  More than likely they simply chose someone else which sucks, but isn't a bad thing.  Stay employeed this is a big plus.  If there are holes in your employment history that hurts.  Keep you credit clean and keep trying.  

White_shirt_max50

4922 posts

back to top
+1

Rated +1 | Posted over 3 years ago

 

Look at a reserve program. Enroll in college. Make who ever interviews you aware that you are working toward a degree. Do whatever to help yourself. Do some ride alongs.

-9 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 3 years ago

 

An interview is your best opportunity to showcase your strengths. One thing that may benefit you would be to list your strengths. Before the interview, decide what you want the department to know about you. Most of the information will be covered by their questions. If something is not covered, that question "Why are you the best candidate" gives you the freedom to talk about your qualities. Be careful not to be arrogant or corny. They are a close relation to confidence and sincerity, but there is a difference. They ask the question, in my opinion, because it is not a comfortable question to be asked. They want to see how you'll handle it.


Also, don't worry about the other candidates when you are being interviewed. You don't want to think, "Obviously I don't have intel on every other applicant and have no idea what strengths of mine triumph the competition's weaknesses." You are there to show them that you are the best candidate.


Another thing you can do is research the department. The department I work at now had a high turnover. New officers would come here and then transfer. When I was asked why I was the best candidate, I stressed how I wanted to be a part of the community. I told them that I was planning on staying here, and I told them how involved I was in the community (church, the schools, coaching, sports leauges.....). That was big for them. Find out what the department needs and tailor your answer to their needs.


One more thing, and I'm done....I promise. Law Enforcement is a special job, but it is just that.....a job. You can go through a couple LE jobs before you find your home department. It's ok to take a job and get experience, even if you aren't planning on staying there. Not many officers get their dream job at their dream department for their first job. It takes some work to get to that point. If you don't fit in with the officers, then apply somewhere else. Departments love lateral transfers. It saves time, training, and money.

Sg_max50

1626 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 3 years ago

 

It seems like you don't have enough confidence or at least don't present yourself as being very confident. If you don't know what's good about you, how can anyone else hire you based on your qualities? The Oral Board is about you as a person, not what's on your resume. I don't know what's great about you, but when they ask what your best qualities are, this is your chance to sell yourself. The confidence will help with answering that question. Good luck.

Avatar_wild_max50

5501 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 3 years ago

 

Tough times across the country. Chicago PD just tested and had 9700 applicants. Keep your chin up and keep at it!


 


On interviewing, just remember that there's a fine line between confident and cocky. No one wants to work with a know it all.


 


Luck!


Heroes Live Forever!

-191 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 3 years ago

 

The oral board is where you 'sell yourself' to the dept. they are wanting to know about  you to see if you are a good fit for them.  You should get better at oral boards with practice, at this time you are competing with laid off officers, and they almost always get hired first, you just have to keep trying, don't give up, it took me about 2 yrs to get hired in times that were harder than some but not as hard as today.

-67 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 3 years ago

 

I think this is the worst time Ive ever seen it to be hired as a police officer...its verging on impossible these days. And without college and military in your resume, that just pushes you further behind those who are coming with one or both of those. When I applied, I had 90+ college hours and 4 years active duty military time, 1+ years Guard time, with 1 tour in Iraq...and I was turned down at 2 agencies before being offered positions at another 2.


I cannot stress enough how important it is in LE to stand out from other applicants. Dont be against getting some college in or joining the military for 2-4 years.

-191 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 3 years ago

 

Another 'problem" i have noticed, even though the demand for LEO's is way down, academies that allow self sponsering are cranking out more graduates that  ever before, in my area it seems like the number of graduates is 3 to 4 times the number of available positions, just getting a state certification is no guarantee of a job, or it seems today even a good chance at getting a job.  As others have said, you need to try and make yourself "stand out" in the large crowd of applicants.

Photo_user_blank_big

74 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 3 years ago

 

Billy, It may have passed me by, but I still was curious, what are you doing currently? Are you employed in any capacity? I am not an LEO so I am essentially in the same boat as you. That being said, if you're not college-educated or have no military experience, having plenty of good work experience behind you is really a big thing. I said this once in another thread, focusing ALL your efforts on becoming an LEO is actually not the best way to go about things, IMO. If getting a degree, as you stated, is not possible, then working and working and then working some is really the best way to pad your resume.


uncledennis said it best; not everyone is destined to become an LEO. I know this and it is something I think about every day, what I would do if my dreams of becoming an LEO never comes to fruition. The lesson to learn from that piece of reality is not that we should just give up; rather it is to learn the importance of having a lot more to us than just a dream of becoming an LEO. I can't explain to you how badly I want to become an LEO, but, especially at this point in my life, I do have to realize it is ultimately up to the gods and that I cannot bank all my hopes and dreams on that desire alone. Thus, it is so important to find other things that interest you and other things you feel you can excel at. I realize that sounds counter-intuitive, but that is how we can survive in the world.


Best wishes to you.

-9 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 3 years ago

 

Bump to umpdaux. Also, it may take a while to get hired, so you will need to support yourself. Don't go bankrupt trying so hard to get a job. If you have a wife and kids, they should be your priority.

Photo_user_blank_big

74 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 3 years ago

 

schultzy0004 says ...



Bump to umpdaux. Also, it may take a while to get hired, so you will need to support yourself. Don't go bankrupt trying so hard to get a job. If you have a wife and kids, they should be your priority.



 OFF-TOPIC


Schultzy, is that a Braves jersey you're wearing in your profile pic??? If so, you just became my PL best friend.


If not... nice to meet you anyway.


-9 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 3 years ago

 

It's a braves windbreaker. My son is also wearing a Braves outifit. That is what he came home from the hospital in when he was born.

Photo_user_blank_big

74 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 3 years ago

 

schultzy0004 says ...



It's a braves windbreaker. My son is also wearing a Braves outifit. That is what he came home from the hospital in when he was born.



It's official. You're my new PL best friend!

Vpsomourningband_max50

5220 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 3 years ago

 

Hijacked by the Braves' fans and admirers of Braves' fans.  Oh boy...  LOL


Photobucket

~I wondered why somebody didn't do something, then I realized I was somebody. ~ unknown

Justice-400_max50

137 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 3 years ago

 

Don't stress over oral board questions to much, and go to any one you can if they're offered even when not hiring. Oral boards are an art to be mastered, and the more you do, the better your scores will become with an occassional hiccup. First oral boards ALWAYS go badly for one reason or another. Don't give up so soon. Like others have said, keep applying and pad that resume. It took me three years to get hired. Also, those smaller departments really do have better odds. At the department I got hired at, 50 people applied for two positions. 25 said they would attend testing, 15 showed up, 12 passed the physical, 7 passed the written and went to the boards. #1 dropped out so I was bumped up to first on the list of six. Then an officer left so there weere three openings. The guy below me failed his poly. So 50 people turned into 5 for 3 positions. Keep trying!

-9 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 3 years ago

 

DonnaLynn says ...



Hijacked by the Braves' fans and admirers of Braves' fans.  Oh boy...  LOL



Sorry.....

505_max50

1 post

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 3 years ago

 

You might also try to get into the reserves at a department. Yiou will find that you can get noticed and gain some exerience on the road. I'm  reserve with the sheriff's office and have seen some of our reserve officers that graduated from the academy get hired because of their experience with the reserves. Hang in there.

Cruise_2014_max50

2555 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 3 years ago

 

Ha. You think it's tough out there? You should see what's going on inside my head!

...just sayin'


PL MENTORING TEAM MEMBER

"Don't underestimate the drawing power of the Garden State." From the film "Dogma"

Trying to stay sane in an insane world...

O_s_max50

860 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 3 years ago

 

BigNTS says ...


Ha. You think it's tough out there? You should see what's going on inside my head! ...just sayin'

I'm not sure if anyone wants to see that. Just sayin'


"Law enforcement officers are never 'off duty.' They are dedicated public servants who are sworn to protect public safety at any time and place that the peace is threatened. They need all the help that they can get."
- Barbara Boxer

"My heroes are those who risk their lives every day to protect our world and make it a better place - police, firefighters and members of our armed forces."
- Sidney

Cruise_2014_max50

2555 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 3 years ago

 

rc86 says ...


BigNTS says ...


Ha. You think it's tough out there? You should see what's going on inside my head! ...just sayin'

I'm not sure if anyone wants to see that. Just sayin'


Oh, it gets ugly!!


PL MENTORING TEAM MEMBER

"Don't underestimate the drawing power of the Garden State." From the film "Dogma"

Trying to stay sane in an insane world...

Photo_user_blank_big

74 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 3 years ago

 

schultzy0004 says ...



DonnaLynn says ...



Hijacked by the Braves' fans and admirers of Braves' fans.  Oh boy...  LOL



Sorry.....



Nothing to be sorry about!


The issue of "small departments" got me thinking. I feel as though the approach many of us take towards applying to departments is rather flawed. It seems like folks either apply to only the departments they truly want to work for (namely, the big departments) or they apply to any and every department that has an opening. The first method is no good, in my opinion, because one should never put all their eggs in one basket. The second is equally as bad, in my opinion, because if a person applies to many departments and (for whatever reason) gets rejected from a large number of them, that casts an instant shadow over them as well.


So, I thought of a different way of applying to agencies. Instead of either picking just one or "nuking," as I like to call it when someone applies anywhere and everywhere, I think it'd be better to pick about four departments at one time - one small, one about mid-sized, one large and one mega-sized (like LAPD/NYPD). Make at least one or two departments your department of choice but also look into other departments you could see yourself working at even though they might not be on your dream team. I am sure many of the LEOs here on PL didn't end up working for their dream department but are still very happy with where they are.