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How to Find Jobs in Criminal Justice

Four Keys to Job Search Success in Criminal Justice Careers

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Keys

Learn the keys to job search success. Copyright Tim Roufa 2012

Tim Roufa

There is a sign on the wall in the Basic Recruit classroom at the Florida Public Safety Institute. It says, "Every day is a job interview." This sentiment is very pertinent, and very important to remember for job seekers in all career fields, but especially those looking for criminology and criminal justice careers.

Figuring out what job you want may be the first step toward finding a career in criminology, but landing the job you want is the end goal. How, then, does a criminal justice career seeker go about looking for her dream job? Moreover, how does she make sure that she gets hired? She can start by using one or more of these simple keys to a successful job search:

Cold Calling

The first key to a successful job search may very well be the hardest, but it's also the most important and the most useful. Cold calling is a term used most often among people who work in sales and marketing. It's something that most job seekers rarely consider.

Cold calling refers to the act of contacting companies, organizations or agencies and asking about job openings, and possibly even asking for an interview. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a significant number of jobs that ultimately get filled are never advertised. Career experts call this the "hidden job market."

Cold calling is a way to tap into the hidden job market. In effect, job seekers intercept jobs before they get advertised. Cold calling is a proactive approach to job searching; instead of waiting around for companies to post jobs or return phone calls, the job seeker takes the initiative and calls the organizations she would like to work for.

Informational Interviews

A close cousin to cold calling, the informational interview is a great way for a job seeker to get her name out there and grow a network of potential contacts and employers. The informational interview is, just as the name implies, an information-gathering mission. It's a way to see whether or not a job or career path is right before making a commitment.

Informational interviews are essentially the opposite of job interviews. Instead of the employer interviewing the candidate, job searchers interview someone who works in their chosen industry to learn more about the job and what it takes to be successful.

Informational interviews are often easy to get, because cause they don't rely on whether or not there are job vacancies or a candidate pool. In fact, many people are happy to give informational interviews because they view them as an opportunity to help others and to build interest in their professions.

For the job seeker, the informational interview provides a new opportunity to build his network and add another contact to the list of potential allies in his job search.

Networking

Networking is vital to any job search. Any effective job search relies on contacts within the industry, and especially within the specific organization for which a candidate is applying.

Every day brings new opportunities, and every person a job seeker meets is another potential contact to add to help him in his job search. When jobs become available in a particular organization, the successful networker will be among the first to be called.

Networking is not a one-way street, though. There is a necessary give and take in a successful network, and it requires constant maintenance. The rewards are often immeasurable, however, as a solid network can lead to both employment and career advancement.

Perseverance

Perseverance is perhaps the first among equals as a vital key to a successful criminal justice career search. As disheartening as it can so often be, there will be rough patches along the way of any earnest job hunt.

The most important thing for career seekers to remember is to keep their heads up and keep looking. Determination and endurance are admirable qualities, and will serve those looking to land their dream job very well. Job seekers should always remember, every "no" is one step closer to a "yes."

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