In this interview, a CSI (Crime Scene Investigator) explains the techniques that helped him on his most recent job search. Noteworthy advice includes developing strong social networks, using refined job board searches and selling yourself during the interview process.
Responsibilities of a Crime Scene Investigator
I work as a CSI – a Crime Scene Investigator. I process all different types of crime scenes; major crime scenes, homicides, rapes and all motor vehicle accidents involving fatalities. I look at the underlying causes of the accidents. I also process all unattended death cases and will take a look to see what the cause of death was if there was no doctor in attendance.
I work for a local government but it is also a legal position as I testify in court. A CSI job will rarely come up as law enforcement on a job board. I am a civilian but ninety-five percent of CSIs are police officers with arrest powers. I was also in the Army Criminal Investigative Division for twenty years.
I found this job through one of my best friends in the Army who was an investigator for the medical examinerâ€™s office. He told me about this job. It was posted to the county website; 15-20 people applied for the position, the board looked at the applications, then they called us in and conducted interviews. This process took about three to four months from the time the position was opened until hiring.
Positions like this are open three weeks or so and then closed to select from the applicants who applied during the open period. I was in another job when this opened up, but I did have several websites I checked on a regular basis. I was using specialized veteran job search websites, not any of the major job board sites. Each of the counties in my state has their own job board for local government sites.
No, I wouldn’t do anything different on my application to make myself stand out as the application is strictly qualification and training based. I can list all the training Iâ€™ve had to make my application stand out from the crowd.
Role of Social Networking
I use some specific websites that cater to my special position to find job openings. I was an Army CID agent and there is a professional organization that helps retired agents to find jobs. Also, there are groups of fellow agents on Facebook keeping in touch on a daily basis. So, on those groups, someone could call out for a couple of qualified people and find applicants particularly suited to their need. Those looking for work can let it be known where they want to go, and what their specialties are. The development of strong connections to people in your industry is important.
Also, conferences and training sessions help professionals in my industry find open positions. The police academy is another good source as every department in my state sends their people there. Some people use LinkedIn and I belong to some groups on there as well.
â€œYou have the right to remain silentâ€¦â€¦..â€
I havenâ€™t had many interviews during my career. When I retired from the army, I went right to work for a private security company. From there, I took a job selling cars. I didnâ€™t know anything about it. I sat down and interviewed with the guy who was hiring, screening one hundred and fifty applicants to hire only about ten.
He asked me, â€œWhy do you think you can convince someone to buy a car from us?â€. I told him that for twenty years I sat down and said, â€œYou have the right to remain silent…now tell me why you murdered that little old lady? I could get them to talk to me. If I can convince some guy who is facing the death penalty to talk to me, I can convince someone who just wants to spend a few thousands on a car to make the saleâ€.
Refine Your Job Search Properly
Probably the lesson I learned on my own that had an impact on my job search was that you have to refine your search properly, especially when using a big search engine. When using large job boards, you canâ€™t just say I want a clerical job. On the other hand, you canâ€™t be too narrow.
You might find that your skills are usable in an unexpected way. I learned afterward, this fact about other jobs that I could have had, but I was only searching within twenty-five miles and they were thirty miles away. I lost a much better job by narrowing my search too near.
Experience Vs Education
I was only required to have an associateâ€™s degree in the Army, and to be working toward a bachelorâ€™s degree. I have almost enough hours but havenâ€™t finished my degree yet. I have twenty years of experience and that is enough to get me the job I have. I may someday take the last few hours I need and gain my degree. If I were to be paid more for having a degree, then I would do that. I went to school in another state and didnâ€™t stay there, so I didnâ€™t use the Career Services.
Deciding Between Risk and Security
When you are in the military, at the ten-year mark in the army, you are halfway home to your retirement. Youâ€™ve spent ten years and earned a lot of credit; only ten years more and you get a retirement check for the rest of your life. I had an opportunity to get out and apply for a federal job at the ten-year mark. Because of my enlistment term, I couldnâ€™t risk taking that job and I wish I had done the risky thing and Iâ€™d be making more money. But I was married with a family and chose the secure path.
Jarrod Swart works for JustJobs.com and is one of their content specialists. He takes keen interest in a variety of computer related disciplines and enjoys doing design and programming work in his spare time.