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LEO General Applicant Qualification's


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  • LEO General Applicant Qualification's

    I joined the Army National Guard back in January 2009, I still have two years left on my contract. MOS 13B - Field Artillery (Would never recommend this MOS, but at the time it had a really nice financial package included with the 6 year commitment.) On top of my four years in the guard, I am graduating from university with a bachelors in criminal justice in May.

    I just wanted to get a feel for what my competition is. At this moment, I feel like I should have a good shot at landing a LEO job, at the same time the economy is extremely poor and I feel like any positions I apply for so are 100-200 other applicants. I have a close contact within one department in a real small county that I may try to pursue irregardless of the fact I'd rather be working/living in a better area. Tennessee academy's are only 8-10 weeks from what I have been able to read up on, which is a lot more ideal then going to say Virginia/Florida and having to go through a 17-18 week course. Been through basic training, and while it can be fun I just would prefer a shorter cycle and maybe lateral in a few years to a different state when my significant other finishes up graduate school.

    So what I am really asking, do I have options here? Should I take what I can get right now? FBI, DEA, ICE etc... all really want graduate degree's which at this point in time I am not willing to do. I feel like a career in law enforcement is right down my alley it's just a matter of taking the plunge. So any general advice would be extremely welcome. I'm at the point where I am trying to assess all of my options and make the best decision. I am not one of those guys who grew up of becoming a cop, without trying to be argumentative it isn't necessarily a dream of mine. However, I do think after doing a law enforcement internship this past semester it may well be something I would enjoy doing.

  • #2
    Perhaps I misunderstood your statement. If I did, please excuse me, but the FBI. DEA. ICE are NOT "get right now" gigs.

    Past that, your question is pretty broad, so I'll have to reply in much the same manner. Entry into law enforcement is currently VERY competitive, and you'll be in with very stiff, very well qualified competition. This competition can include certified officers, laid off or furloughed from departments due to budget cuts.

    Cities and counties which have been experiencing less than normal tax revenues due to the toxic economy will require two to four years of increasing revenues before any serious hiring can be considered. That is not to say there aren't departments which are not hiring.

    Here is where research is going to be your friend. Much of this can be done from your current location, ie: behind your key board. Start looking at agencies close to you. Determine if they are hiring, or if not, if and when they might once more be hiring.

    It's of extreme importance that you measure objectively against a given department's entry level requirements. While you feel that law enforcement is "right up your alley", departments can be and are highly selective.

    Should you enter a Civil Service process, you'll discover that they're often frustrating, very impersonal, highly competitive, and lengthy.

    With respect to your degree. While a CJ degree can be helpful, they are almost never required. This is true even with agencies which either prefer or require a degree. Almost any degree will be of benefit to you.

    Regarding the length of training cycles. You error in comparing a law enforcement training cycle with Army Basic. While there may be similarities, especially in a military style academy, the academics required at most academies can be challenging to say the least. Successful completion of an academy will require your full time dedication and effort. That need and requirement will extend to any family living with you at the time.

    Once more, begin doing some serious research. Don't limit yourself to only one or two agencies. Consider re-locating if that's an option. Good luck in your efforts.


    • #3
      As it is at the moment, I have done all I can to set my self up for success is that correct? I understand the minimum requirements for the vast majority of departments do not require degree's, prior service etc... Surely, these resume builders will make me a more favorable candidate in a competitive field. Or do you think that these just put me on par with other applicants? Or maybe my lack of experience and lack of certification put me below the average applicant's qualifications?
      Last edited by stoonley; 01-29-2013, 06:41 PM.


      • #4
        I think the problem here is that you don’t understand the hiring process.

        When you are applying with city, county and state civil service agencies, resumes don’t mean squat. Instead, hiring is based on your demonstrated ability to perform the duties of the job you are seeking. This is measured in a variety of ways. Around half of your score is based on a written exam that asks specific, job related questions. The more correct answers you give, the higher your score.

        The rest of your score will be based on an oral interview. In many instances your oral is scored on things like:

        Experience – assesses your ability and experience in accepting responsibilities and performing assigned tasks as demonstrated through achievements in work, school, and other activities.

        Problem Solving – assesses your reasoning skills in developing timely, logical responses to a wide variety of situations and problems.

        Communication Skills – assesses your oral communications skills, which includes speaking, listening, and non-verbal communication.

        Interest/Motivation – addresses your interest in and preparedness for the peace officer job. It includes an assessment of your general level of interest, initiative, and goal orientation.

        Interpersonal Skills – assesses many facets, such as social knowledge/appropriateness, social insight, empathy, social influence, social self-regulation, sociability, team orientation, social self-confidence, conflict management skills, and negotiating skills.

        Community Involvement/Awareness – focuses specifically on your experiences and interest in community issues, as well as your interest in and ability to fill multiple roles and serve a diverse community.

        The background is pass fail. It simply confirms your identity, verifies that you possess the minimum requirements for the position you are seeking and determines whether there is anything in your personal history that meets the criteria for disqualification.

        Your written and oral scores are then combined and applicants are hired in the order of their score (highest score first, next highest score next.)

        Not to denigrate your military service, but about all it counts for in the process is to add a few extra points to your score for veterans’ credit.

        Now, the Feds do score based on your resume. However, when you apply for a particular job the Feds will tell you what Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSAs) you will be rated on. You then have to specifically craft your resume to show how you possess those desired KSAs if you want to score points. It’s not a matter of what you think is important, it’s a matter of demonstrating that you have the specific things they want for the particular job in question. Sometimes as you try to write your resume to meet the KSAs for a specific Fed job you can come to the realization that you are totally unqualified for it.
        Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere


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