A career change can be daunting for anyone. But if you’ve been in the police services and planning to cross over into a civilian role, this can be particularly challenging. Whether you’ve spent only a few years in service and decided the work isn’t right for you or dedicated decades in the forces but aren’t quite ready for retired life, finding something to do after leaving the police service can be a challenge.
You are likely used to a certain way of working that on the face of it is very different from a commercial civilian career and a transition can be difficult. While assistance programmes like the government-led Career Transition Partnership (CTP) are in place for those leaving the armed forces, there are presently no such resources for police officers.
In this blog we’ll look at:
- Types of jobs for ex-police officers
- What transferrable skills can you bring to a civilian role?
- How to transition into a civilian role
- How FDM can help ex-police officers launch new careers
Types of jobs for ex-police officers
Whilst there’s no set job route for police personnel after leaving the forces, there are three main sectors you can consider if you’re planning to make a career change.
- Transition to the private sector
- Continue working with the police in a civilian capacity
- Remain in the public sector by working with a government agency
There is high demand for former police officers in businesses that handle sensitive data and require their staff to have high-level security clearances. Example – a role as a Risk, Regulation, Compliance Consultant where you function as the first line of defence for a business against financial crime.
Depending on which sector you choose to go into, here are some of the most common career pathways for ex-police officers:
- Financial crime and anti-fraud services
- Cyber security
- Private investigation
- Security and Emergency Services
- Project management
What transferrable skills can you bring to a civilian role?
In the course of your police career, you receive training that combines a mix of hard and soft skills. Most of these skills can be transferred to multiple civilian careers across sectors like IT, engineering, communications, food service, government, education and more.
The top transferrable skills from police training to civilian careers include:
- Problem Solving
- Technical Skills
- Change Management
- Data Analysis
- Effective Communication
However, some employers need a better understanding than others of the value proposition of hiring an ex-police officer. For this, you need to communicate how your skills are an asset that can provide value to employers from day 1 and drive business growth.
For example – it’s not enough to simply state that you are an effective communicator. You need to explain how you’ve used your communication skills in the past and how you can use those skills to business advantage in your new role. Every business needs people who can communicate clearly – whether to represent the company externally or to collaborate with internal teams.
Working in the police force involves communicating with multiple stakeholders at various levels. Depending on your role, you may have been required to produce reports for senior officials within the force or in the government. Drawing on those experiences and showing how you used written and verbal communication skills to resolve differences and explain procedures is a great way to align your skills to the needs of your new role.
How to transition into a civilian role
If you’re considering a new career after leaving the police force, it’s important to do a self-audit and find out what your core skills are and what kind of role you want to pursue. Remember there are several considerations here and the choices would differ from person to person. For example, are you looking for –
- Better pay?
- Better work-life balance?
- Are you interested in upskilling and reskilling?
Based on this self-evaluation you can plan your next steps. Here are some of our top tips for when you start looking for a new job:
Update your CV and cover letter
The first step in getting job ready is to update your CV and cover letter. If you’re unsure about how to draft your CV to reflect your transferrable skills and experience, a good idea is to get help from a career consultant. They would be able to guide you about the best way to present your background and training and also advise on recent trends in CV and cover letter templates for each industry.
Don’t worry if it’s been some time since you’ve left service and that has left a break in your career history. There are several ways that you can explain employment gaps in your CV.
It’s also important to tailor each cover letter to the roles you’re applying to and matching your skills and experience to individual job descriptions of each role. A recent survey of over 200 recruiters and hiring managers found that 83% of respondents would call a candidate for an interview based on a good cover letter even if their CV wasn’t that impressive on its own.
LinkedIn’s global survey found that 70% of people were hired at a company where they had a connection and 80% believe that business networking is the most successful way to find a job and advance in your career. Business networking is what puts you on the radar of recruiters and other professionals and allows you to build your own grid of business contacts. But how do you start networking and where?
From dedicated professional networking sites like LinkedIn to digital events like webinars, there are multiple online platforms that you can successfully use to build your contact base.
LinkedIn should be the first port of call for all business professionals. With 49 million people using LinkedIn to look for jobs each week, it’s the best place for job seekers to start networking.
The popularity of digital events like webinars has boomed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. These events hosted on platforms like Zoom provide the advantage of geo-flexibility so you can join in from anywhere in the world.
Job fairs are also an excellent way to meet new professional contacts and network with potential recruiters – some of whom may be specifically interested in hiring ex-police and ex-forces personnel.
Research companies that hire ex-police personnel
Not all companies advertise vacancies that specifically invite applications from ex-police officers. This is why it’s important to do your research and be on the look out for employers who are known to recruit ex-service personnel. A good tip is to follow companies particularly in sectors that require high security clearances like financial crime and fraud prevention. Follow them on social media platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn so you’re notified of any new job postings.
Brush up on your digital skills
It goes without saying that digital skills constitute a significant part of most job roles across the board with the reliance on digital only set to grow further in the coming years. That being the case, you need some essential digital skills for a modern career. From basic MS Office tools like Excel and PowerPoint to using video conferencing tools and using the internet for research, it’s a good idea to brush up on some of these key digital skills when you’re looking to get into a new role.
How FDM can help ex-police officers launch new careers
FDM Group is a global leader in the recruit, train and deploy sector, specialising in technology. Our award-winning Ex-Forces Programme is an excellent way for service leavers, military veterans, serving reservists, ex-police personnel, and their spouses to start, or further their civilian careers. Our programme is run by ex-service personnel who understand your background and are committed to supporting your transition into a civilian career in either business or tech.
We offer fully-funded training through our FDM Academy, industry-recognised qualifications, and minimum two years of commercial experience with our global clients across Banking and Finance, Retail, Insurance, and the Public Sector.
Over 750+ Ex-Forces personnel have joined our programme since 2014.
A career transition can be intimidating but it doesn’t have to be when you have a partner like FDM. We support you at every step of the programme – from instructor-led training, to interview preparation and ongoing mentorship. So, if you’re looking for a new challenge after leaving the police forces, apply to our Ex Forces Programme today.