I thought it might be helpful to run through a few essential points as you consider your move away from policing. And if you have already left, these will be of use if you are not getting the progress you had hoped for.
1. First and foremost, if you are thinking of moving at any point in the next 12 months start right now!
It often takes more time than you might imagine to understand how to progress successfully.
You do not need to have a specific role in mind but start by considering the broad direction you would like to pursue – and then perhaps allow for a change of direction if you realise the options are not as strong as you hoped for or that on closer look it is not quite the perfect fit you imagined. No matter, you will, with trial and error, find a good fit but only if you continually adjust, using what you are learning as you go along to develop ideas. Clearly all this takes time.
Look at companies that appeal to you and do your due diligence – will you really be a good fit for each other? Note I did not say pursue what you think other police officers have done – look for your own points of excellence and interest – there are many choices out there so think broadly.
2. Do your preparation
Commit to this as a serious project and hunker down to the work. Yes, you might very well be the exception and be offered the perfect job the moment you mention you are on the market – but in my long experience this is a rarity. This adventure takes commitment and planning, but then aren’t the best things often the ones we have had to work for?
3. Get help!
Well, I would say that, wouldn’t I! But getting knowledgable support can put you significantly ahead and ensure you do not feel you are alone and that it is not ‘just you’ if you are feeling a bit challenged.
So what help?
First and foremost do not think you should just be able to form a fabulous CV and LinkedIn profile – yes, you are more than bright enough to do it, but it takes time to learn and understand what employers are looking for and how to capture attention. If you spend your time and energy continually guessing and hoping you are presenting what they want you will waste your time. For many people there is only one chance to forward their CV to their key individuals – it is essential that the CV is a good one.
Often I see CV’s that are not bad, but only really useful if you want a job in policing. You need to show employers how your skills will fit in their business – it is not for them to work it out, make their life as easy as you can and you will reap the rewards.
Make sure it is not just a job description – just a list of your responsibilities because one might say – “well yes that was what you were paid to do”. Offer the added value you brought to the roles.
I speak to people who are disappointed that although they were keen to get support and help they feel they did not really want to pay for it. A nice idea but free or cheap is rarely good in the long run – one or both of you will undervalue the worth – or are you undervaluing ‘your’ worth? Just a thought to consider.
I work very hard for clients and their success and bring decades of knowledge and experience of both the policing world and the private sector – and it is that kind of experience that you will be paying for. If you want a professional to ease the burden on you then expect to pay – they should bring expertise that you do not hold (because you have been busy policing) and have a track record of converting policing skills to a language understood in the private sector alongside a great delivery reputation. Ask them probing questions – I rather enjoy being asked questions.
I love to hear the sense of relief from clients when the decision is made to work with me – “fabulous, someone else to sort this out and fast track me to the next stage”. and of course that leaves my clients with the more enjoyable aspects of spending their time reconnecting with old contacts and importantly connecting with new people.
4. Get moving
Once you have your super two page, concise and compelling CV clutched in your hand and your LinkedIn profile looking great you need to start to sending your CV for jobs that genuinely appeal. I do not advocate just sending it out for jobs that do not really suit just ‘to see what happens’. It can be utterly demoralising when you apply for a job that you know you are more than qualified for, even overqualified, and not actually even that interested in, and are rejected without even reaching a shortlist, never mind invited to interview. There will be lots of reasons this happens (that is another subject but give me a call and I will walk you through if this is happening to you) and you may never know what was wrong so it can damage your confidence needlessly.
Do apply for good fits in advance – do not necessarily wait until you have left thinking getting your next role will be speedy. Equally, there is little point in applying too far in advance – unless you are offering something no one else can. I know that seems like opposite advice in the same point but really I want to impress on you is that this is all about timing, preparation and flexibility. And please do embrace the truth that getting a great job on first application is unusual for mere mortals.
Do make enquiries with companies you are interested in. Who do you know who works there? Who are you connected to that might introduce you to get the inside information? LinkedIn is invaluable here.
Do make contact with key people – perhaps even ask a closed question. Note I am clear that the regular police based open questions often go unanswered. People are busy and answering a specific query is much easier than tackling the one I get asked most often – “do you have any advice” – where to even start? Most people are happy to help and if you make the right approach they may give more than you expect. Ask for advice and not a job obviously!
Do make meaningful connections on LinkedIn in the new area of business you want to pursue. This means people you do not know yet! That may be more enjoyable than you think – new people with new ideas.
And finally, in business, there is a well worn knowledge that many people resist – if you wait until you are ready you are probably already too late. Why do you think Nike still uses – Just do it – because it works and we humans often just hum and haw for far too long; fear of getting something wrong can in fact make us do nothing at all!. The longer you wait the bigger issues can seem to be. Get support early and keep moving.
You know where I am if you would like to talk.
AngelaPips@PoliceintoPrivateSector.co.uk Tel: 01737 831700