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  • Am I a competitive applicant?

    Hello everyone. I've been a reader of Officer.com and the forums for a long while, but this is my first time posting. I wanted to get some opinions on my chances for being hired.

    I got an interview for the TVA Police, but I'm feeling sort of intimidated at the prospect of other applicants being sworn officers for multiple years. I'm a fresh college graduate and I have no police or security experience. However, my grades are near perfect (3.9 GPA out of 4.0), member of several honor societies, 4.0 GPA in criminal justice minor, and other academic honors. I'm confident that I'm very strong academically, but will the lack of experience rule me out in favor of experienced officers?

    Just for your information, the minimum qualifications are a 4-year degree, or a two-year degree with two years of experience as a police officer, or just six years experience as a police officer. What are your opinions on my prospects?

  • #2
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    • #3
      How "competitive" you'll be in this mix of applicants has a ton to do with what a particular agency values, at that particular time, with that particular administration.

      From a strict economic standpoint, many (but not all) agencies will take experienced, clean lateral transfers as first-pick, as they're the cheapest to train, and have a track-record of previous success and affinity for the profession. Some agencies still operate in the, "we like 'em fresh so we can train 'em 'our way'" mode, but this seems to have become more rare over the years.

      Beyond experienced police officers, you'll likely have applicants in your pool who are in mid-20's and 30's, many of whom have been successful in another career, and may be taking a substantial pay cut to go into police work. Some of this applicant pool may also be military veterans, with prior deployment and combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. While this doesn't make them "perfect" candidates, it does (generally) speak of a certain level of maturity, experience, and seriousness, in addition to demonstrating past success in a similar environment and organization.

      Recent college graduates are still being hired out there, but it seems that many agencies are getting away from hiring a lot of "barely legal" (most states require you to be 21) recruits. Part of this may be due to prior experience with very young candidates who have no substantive work history to predict their future success, and part of this may be due to the availability of an older, more experienced candidate pool (due to the present economic down-turn, and the flow of combat vets coming out of our adventures overseas.)

      A lot of standard advice applies (hence it being standard) - study up on the department and the profession, make sure you've been on ride-alongs, and do your best to articulate why you're a mature, level-headed candidate, who is likely to succeed in training, and as an officer.

      If this is what you really want, and you don't succeed on the first try, get a job to pay the bills and accumulate work experience, and keep applying. At some point, you accrue enough life and work experience to be attractive to a hiring agency, even if you do not do so right now.

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      • #4
        In the immortal words of the state lottery "you can't win if you don't play."

        Seriously though, don't be intimidated by other applicants to the point where you don't even apply, or have no confidence in your chances. Be confident in what you have to offer that department.

        My background is similar to yours (about a half decade more work experience, none of it in LE though) and I got hired on. Take the advice previously given, be patient, and I'm sure you'll do fine.
        This is for all you new people. I only have one rule: everyone fights, no one quits. You don't do your Job i'll shoot you myself.

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        • #5
          Thanks for the advice, guys. My interview is coming up next week so I'll concentrate on doing the best that I can and not worrying about other applicants, experience, and such.

          We'll see how it goes from there.

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          • #6
            Okay, I'm going to be as honest with you as I can be. My sense is, that the TVA will probably opt for the experienced Officer. There are several very valid reasons for this. The experienced officer is far less expensive to train, and brings with him/her experience on which a monetary value really can't be placed. The TVA is an example of agencies to which many experienced Officers seem to gravitate after 5-10 years of service. Now, that I've "discouraged" you, let me suggest this. Do the interview. Put your best foot forward, sell yourself. If this application doesn't work for you, keep trying. You have strong Academic credentials ,and are very possibly the type applicant more conventional LE agencies are looking for. Don't limit your applications to only one agency. As the guy said. "You can't win if you don't play". Good luck.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by PhilipCal View Post
              Okay, I'm going to be as honest with you as I can be. My sense is, that the TVA will probably opt for the experienced Officer. There are several very valid reasons for this. The experienced officer is far less expensive to train, and brings with him/her experience on which a monetary value really can't be placed. The TVA is an example of agencies to which many experienced Officers seem to gravitate after 5-10 years of service. Now, that I've "discouraged" you, let me suggest this. Do the interview. Put your best foot forward, sell yourself. If this application doesn't work for you, keep trying. You have strong Academic credentials ,and are very possibly the type applicant more conventional LE agencies are looking for. Don't limit your applications to only one agency. As the guy said. "You can't win if you don't play". Good luck.
              Just to add to what he said:

              1. Play up your strengths
              2. Don't be ashamed of things you haven't done or things you can't possibly know due to your lack of training or experience.

              They know by looking at your application that you are fresh. Be yourself and if the situation presents itself, ask them what you can do to develop yourself for future interviews.

              Best of luck to you, the World is a step away!

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              • #8
                When competing for a Federal natural resource LE position, you have to realize that just having a four year degree no matter how prestigious is rarely enough. Almost everyone in my FLETC LMPT class has a combination of advanced degrees, state and federal law enforcement experience, military and various natural resource backgrounds such as wild land fire or biology. I am not saying it can't happen but you are fighting an up hill battle.

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                • #9
                  Lots of good advice and very valid points. I am definitely going to do as suggested and go into the interview with a positive attitude and sell my strengths to them. If it doesn't work out, I'm perfectly okay with that. I'm just happy that they decided to let me have the chance to interview in the first place.

                  My interview is tomorrow so I'll post tomorrow with my impressions of how it went. Thanks to everyone for the advice and words of encouragement.

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                  • #10
                    Well, I forgot to come back and post my post-interview impressions. However, it obviously must have went better than I thought because I was invited back for the oral board and a written test. The crazy thing is it's all on the same day! It's going to be a very tiring and nerve-racking experience, but here's hoping for the best.

                    I'm already further along than I initially thought I'd be! A good attitude and enthusiasm will get you a long way.

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                    • #11
                      I'm kinda in your boat, young, first time LEO applicant, and graduating in May. I just got called from my county's Sheriff Department yesterday and I passed everything. I am scheduled to go there tomorrow to fill out paperwork for employment and the academy in May. As for work history... I have been working loss prevention for awhile now and I interned at the department last summer, but I also got another conditional offer from a local police department, which I did not intern for, but like you, I have outstanding grades, and my internship and job history probably helped out over there, too.

                      Good luck, it's pretty exciting when they call you to come fill out the final packet for actual employment.
                      All the early stuff - passed '08-early '09
                      Conditional Offer - obtained 2/12/09
                      health/psych evaluation - passed 2/23/09

                      -Academy starts in May

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mr_G View Post
                        Hello everyone. I've been a reader of Officer.com and the forums for a long while, but this is my first time posting. I wanted to get some opinions on my chances for being hired.

                        I got an interview for the TVA Police, but I'm feeling sort of intimidated at the prospect of other applicants being sworn officers for multiple years. I'm a fresh college graduate and I have no police or security experience. However, my grades are near perfect (3.9 GPA out of 4.0), member of several honor societies, 4.0 GPA in criminal justice minor, and other academic honors. I'm confident that I'm very strong academically, but will the lack of experience rule me out in favor of experienced officers?

                        Just for your information, the minimum qualifications are a 4-year degree, or a two-year degree with two years of experience as a police officer, or just six years experience as a police officer. What are your opinions on my prospects?
                        Just keep on it, they just hired a 24 yr old with no experience just a degree and a 25 yr old with no LE experience, TVA in my opinion is looking for younger people to fill position, not older people cause regardless of thinking lateral transfers or not, they still send you to the academy. It cost the same to hire NO LE experience as to hiring with experience. They send everyone through the same amount of training.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by DARE_SUPPORTER View Post
                          Just keep on it, they just hired a 24 yr old with no experience just a degree and a 25 yr old with no LE experience, TVA in my opinion is looking for younger people to fill position, not older people cause regardless of thinking lateral transfers or not, they still send you to the academy. It cost the same to hire NO LE experience as to hiring with experience. They send everyone through the same amount of training.
                          DARE, I may have to disagree with you on the age. Of the 5 officers in my class from TVAP, only one is younger than 30. Two of them are 36 and 37.

                          Is it possible that people are actually being hired on their merits rather than some conspiracy to hire a certain age bracket? Officers, with any agency, are hired by staff from that particular location. Some supervisors may have that sort of agenda in mind, I know that happens, but branding a whole agency with a label like that seems to be naive and unprofessional.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by TJMS81 View Post
                            DARE, I may have to disagree with you on the age. Of the 5 officers in my class from TVAP, only one is younger than 30. Two of them are 36 and 37.

                            Is it possible that people are actually being hired on their merits rather than some conspiracy to hire a certain age bracket? Officers, with any agency, are hired by staff from that particular location. Some supervisors may have that sort of agenda in mind, I know that happens, but branding a whole agency with a label like that seems to be naive and unprofessional.
                            Everyone has their own opinion, like I have mine. I happen to work for them, and I am just calling it by the way I have seen it happen.

                            If you worked for TVA and knew some of the issues, you would understand my mind set on my comments. Most of the employees of this company is in an older bracket.
                            Last edited by DARE_SUPPORTER; 04-02-2009, 08:52 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Is TVA hiring again ?

                              I did not get notice from site . The last time I did get a notice. I put in. They had three positions open. Ad was for maybe a week. Never heard back. Called a few weeks later and they told me all three positions had been filled.

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