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10 Things To Consider Before Becoming a Cop

New York City Police Academy cadets attend their graduation ceremony

Working as a police officer is an excellent career choice for some, but before you make the leap to a law enforcement career, there are a few things you really need to think about.

Learn More About Working In Law Enforcement
Criminology Careers Spotlight10

Hard Lessons Learned on the Job Hunt

Sunday April 13, 2014
A long, long time ago, when I was in high school, I decided I wanted a new job. Suit and Tie I'd heard that our local grocer chain was a good employer. They offered decent pay and even company stock if you worked for them long enough. In short, much like the careers I write about now, it was a great opportunity, and I wanted in.

I showed up one day to pick up a job application (there was no such thing as "online"). I was wearing torn jeans and a Metallica t-shirt with a menacing skull prominently featured on the front. Not the most professional attire by any stretch.

My plan was to grab an application, take it home, and bring it back, this time dressed sharply in slacks and a shirt and tie. What I didn't know was that this particular company required you to fill out your application on the spot and watch an orientation video before hand.

Though I had every intention of making a good first impression when I returned my application, I completely neglected to consider the impression I might make when I picked up the application. As you can probably already guess, I didn't get the job. I didn't even get an interview.

Years later, I still see people looking for jobs, dressed not unlike I was so long ago. Often, they're oblivious to the need to present a professional image in every step of the job search, including when you first inquire about applying.

Don't make the same mistakes I did. Learn how to remake your image, dress for success and make every interaction you have with employers count. Show them that you are the person they want working for them. Good luck!

Man's T-Shirt Makes Cops' Job Easier

Thursday April 10, 2014
One major function of police officers is traffic enforcement, and perhaps no enforcement is more vital than that of drugged and drunk driving. According to The Smoking Gun, Oregon resident Ross McMakin was all too willing to make officers' jobs just a little easier by advertising his crime on his T-shirt.

McMakin was recently arrested for drunk driving and other offenses after he drove his car onto the sidewalk and hit a parked car. And attacked his girlfriend, who had been in the car with him.

When the police arrived on scene, McMakin was proudly adorned in a T-shirt with the words "Drunk as Sh*T" prominently displayed across his chest. Just in case little eyes are peeking, we'll spare you McMakin's grinning mug shot, but suffice to say that there may not exist another jailhouse photo with more evidentiary value.

Traffic safety is of critical importance to law enforcement, most especially to state troopers and patrol officers. Far too many people are injured and killed each year from traffic crashes, and according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), 10,322 people lost their lives due to drunk driving in 2012. All the more reason for police to take the problem of impaired driving seriously.

Oh, Behave! Learning how to Conduct Yourself On the Job Hunt...

Monday April 7, 2014
Brimfield, Ohio Police Chief David Oliver has made a name for himself and his department by "telling it like it is." His good-natured plain talk has generated quite a few followers on Facebook, including yours truly. Not so long ago, he called out rapper Kanye West for comparing his entertainment career with the dangers police officers face on a daily basis. Recently, the Chief took on a topic near and dear to my heart: how to conduct yourself when job hunting.

Admittedly, the Chief is far funnier, albeit less diplomatic, than I am. He does however, offer some excellent and, sadly, much-needed advice on how one should act when trying to get hired in law enforcement.

Among some of his more poignant gems are the advice to "not have your underwear showing at any time during the job seeking process," and the fact that "'Dude', 'bro' or 'like' are not business vocabulary words."

It's unfortunate that the Chief's advice is so badly needed, but it is. Far too many people find themselves struggling to land a good job because they don't take the time to consider how to dress or behave. Hopefully, with Chief Oliver's help - and, of course, the great advice you get from About.com - job seekers will begin to take note.

Learn the Lingo

Friday April 4, 2014
We're hard at work trying to make sure we get you all the information you need to score a fun, exciting and rewarding career in criminal justice and criminology. From career profiles to criminal justice technology, we're covering it all. But if you really want to be a criminal justice professional, you've got to learn to talk like one.

To that end, in case you didn't know, we've established an entire criminology glossary dedicated to educating you about the terminology associated with our profession.

Like most professions, criminology and criminal justice workers can at times seem like they're speaking own language. Learning their lingo can help you feel more at ease when interviewing for a job or learning more about the types of careers available.

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