Associate Magazine-Jan/Mar 2021
Making the leap from law enforcement to the private sector is not an easy one. It will take time, energy, and perseverance. But as my mother always said, “nothing worth having is easy.” LEARNING OBJECTIVES 1. Fully understand the pro and cons of leaving a career for a new opportunity 2. Understand the best practices for researching and networking for new opportunities 3. How to set ones self-up for success in landing a new job O The first decision you must make is why you are leaving. Think about the reasons and evaluate them. Are they emo- FRESH PURSUITS: THE JOURNEY FROM COP TO CORPORATE
REPUTATION AND NETWORKING The two most important considerations to getting a job are your established reputation and your ability to network. The reason I recommend that people look but not apply for positions they find on job sites is because they are usually filled by the time the job is posted. Blindly filling out an on-line application is akin to playing lotto. You might be lucky, but the odds are low. Jobs are filled by word of mouth. People circulate the opportu- nity of a new position to their own trusted network and seek out candidates. The reputation of the candidate is what gets their name passed on to the hiring manager. Their application is hand delivered to the hiring manager with a recommendation from a trusted co-worker or friend. These are the people that are hired. So, your reputation is set by the time you are looking to leave. If it is not a great one, start working on that first. A solid work ethic, and treating people with respect, can go a long way to repairing a poor reputation. As my friend and mentor Brian Tuskan once wrote, “people love an underdog.” Never count yourself out. It is never too late to start. Networking is a bit easier these days. LinkedIn should be your number one priority in getting your network well estab- lished. Do some research prior to making your page and seek advice from your established network prior to making your page public. LinkedIn can be a bit tricky to use at first, but the internet is your friend and there is no shortage of pages to help you get it looking great. Add pictures and logo to your LinkedIn page. Request your training records from the department and add all of them to your education and training sections. I often see officers not adding
tionally based? Will time change your mind? Can you financially benefit from the move or is there a cost to leaving early? The landscape of decisions to leave can be complicated. Be sure to take the time to evaluate the reasons for leaving and then re-visit those decisions several times. Talk to your family, friends, and financial advisor to make sure that you are making the correct decision. If you do choose to leave and pursue a new career there are some best practices that will help you have an edge over others you will be competing against. YOU CAN’T GET WHAT YOU WANT, UNTIL YOU KNOW WHAT YOU WANT The first step is to think about what you want to do in your second career. The private sector has numerous and critical posi- tions that are well suited to law enforcement. Executive protec- tion, investigations, collision investigations, corporate security, and event management, are just a few of the more aligned roles to traditional law enforcement. But opportunities can exist far beyond the perfectly aligned set of skills for a traditional police officer. For example, subject matter experts are needed at many major companies. These companies rely on former law enforce- ment officers’ expertise to help them shape new tools, software, and even clothing. They need former officers to handle sales and marketing for their companies. When I consult with an of- ficer looking to make a career transition, I tell them to use web sites for job opportunities to help them learn what is out there. I coach them to look, but not to apply. That will come later. The first step is to learn the corporate language and understand what the various job opportunities are for former law enforcement. Think about past jobs that you liked and how they would trans- late into your next career.
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