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Preparing for Success Throughout The Police Officer Application Process



How to become a police officer

It’s no secret that the majority of people will fail the police officer selection process. After all, working as a cop is no easy job and with the huge amount of responsibility riding on the police, selecting the right recruits is absolutely essential.

If you’re thinking of becoming a police officer, you’re up against some strong competition. Every year, hundreds of people apply to various police departments and the majority of them will be rejected. If working as a cop has always been your dream, then that’s the last thing that you want to happen to you.

The good news is that by putting in the work, understanding what’s expected of you and making sure that you shine out from the rest as an applicant to take notice of, you can improve your chances of being accepted and getting started with initial police officer training as soon as possible.

If you’ve just started out down your pathway of becoming a cop, you’re going to want to do the following before you even apply:

Study Something That Demonstrates Your Commitment to the Field:

Sure, you don’t need a degree in being a police officer to work as one, but having a qualification behind you that demonstrates your interest in, and commitment to, the field can certainly help you stand out throughout the application process. Some of the job degree options that you could go for in order to stand out as an applicant and be in with a better chance of advancing your law enforcement career in the future include:

  • Social Sciences degrees: Psychology, Criminology or Sociology, for example
  • Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement
  • Law Enforcement and Public Safety
  • Law
  • Foreign Languages
  • Finance or Accounting
  • Computer Science

Check out this post from Wilfrid Laurier University to find out more about the best degrees for an aspiring police officer to take.

Understand What Makes a Good Cop:

When you understand what recruiters are looking for in applicants, you’re in a better position to demonstrate to them that you have got what it takes. After all, they are looking for individuals that clearly show that they have the makings of a good police officer.

  1. Being Emotionally Aware: There are various ways in which you can be emotionally aware. Relating to others, understanding their difficulties, and showing empathy are just a few. It’s likely that you will be given role-play activities designed to demonstrate your emotional awareness.
  2. Taking Ownership: As a police officer, it’s essential that you are able to take responsibility and ownership for problems. For example, if you turn up to a bar and there’s a fight breaking out, you’re going to be responsible for resolving the situation – after all, it’s your job.
  3. Collaboration and Teamwork: To work successfully, police officers must be part of a close-knit team. You’ll be working with lots of other people both inside and outside of the police department, whether it’s the other emergency services, members of the public, or local authorities.
  4. Critical Thinking: During the application process, your critical thinking skills are going to be tested a lot. As a cop, you’ll need to be able to critically analyze and evaluate situations in order to make the best decisions on your feet. You need to be able to demonstrate that you can look at the information you have with an open mind and be innovative in order to make the right calls.

Demonstrate Your Skills and Qualities:

Throughout the application process, it’s important that you involve the demonstration of the skills and qualities you possess – the ones that’ll make you a great cop – in everything that you do. Be impartial; it’s all about understanding people’s needs and taking them into account when you make decisions. Demonstrate that you are able to do this, whether you’re going through group interviews and role-playing scenarios, or even filling out an application form.

You should also demonstrate that you’re able to treat everybody in a fair and respectful manner; this is absolutely crucial when working for the police today. Recruiters will be looking for you to demonstrate this at every step of the process, whether it’s in your application form responses, interviews, or assessment centers.

Nailing the Interview:

The interview really gives you a chance to shine one-to-one with the recruiters and demonstrate your skills, experience, and knowledge. So, getting it right is absolutely crucial. During the interview process, answer questions with evidence-based responses using the STAR technique, which stands for:

  • S- Situation
  • T- Task
  • A- Action
  • R- Result

For example, you might be asked to describe a time where you were able to solve a difficult problem when under pressure, and you’ll need to describe what situation you were in and what you did.

  • Situation: Explain what the situation was that you had to deal with
  • Task: Explain what you had to do in order to achieve the end goal
  • Action: Tell the interviewer what action or actions you took
  • Result: Describe the result that you got – always choose a situation in which the end result was positive following the actions of yourself and others

Some questions that you might expect to be asked include:

  1. Describe a time when you have supported a vulnerable person or group
  2. Describe a time when you assisted somebody to overcome a difficult problem or situation.
  3. Describe a time when you have taken responsibility for solving a difficult problem.
  4. Describe when you have used your initiative in a situation.

You should also be prepared for more probing questions, such as:

  1. How did you feel in that situation?
  2. Would you do something differently if you were in the same situation again?
  3. Do you feel that you coped well with the situation?
  4. Why do you think that the other person responded or reacted that way?

These questions are all designed to get answers about your personality, so you need to reflect and analyze your performance. It’s a good idea to go through some mock police interviews so that you’re fully prepared.

Getting into the police is very competitive, so make sure that you’re prepared to stand out and shine in the applicant pool.

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Student @ Advanced Digital Sciences Center, Singapore. Travelled to 30+ countries, passion for basketball.

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Students' Column

Is Writing An Easy Field To Break Into?



For many of us, the idea of becoming a writer is something that we nurture from adolescence, our love of reading dovetailing with a desire to be heard. It is one of the most romanticized career ideas – just think about how many films and TV shows revolve around one or more writers – and it’s no surprise that student newspapers and magazines are often among the most popular extracurricular activities included on college applications.

What separates writing from many other careers is that there is not always an evident career path. Those of us who dream of one day writing for the newspaper we read scrupulously, or of signing a deal for our first novel, can end up quite disillusioned by the reality of trying to get paid as a writer. And while we’d love to think that it’s not about the money, there’s a great deal of truth in the motto that has become a mantra for so many writers: “I can’t pay my rent with exposure”.

Do you need to secure a regular writing job to make it a career?

If you dream of becoming a writer, you probably have an inspiration, someone who made you want to pick up a laptop and share your ideas for the first time. Chances are, these icons are individuals who can make a very comfortable living from a column per week thanks to a tenured slot at an established media institution, and they’ve “paid their dues”. That’s something that’s getting harder to do, as local newspapers are struggling to hold up in the digital age – making it harder to get a starting job in the industry.

Is freelancing a reasonable alternative?

The idea of being a freelancer can be attractive initially – if you’re not tied to any one media group, you won’t be committed to an editorial line – but it is tricky and guaranteed income is hard to find. It is a good idea to cultivate regular clients. You’ll learn their payment patterns, have the ability to invoice them in one touch through your accounting software, and can establish yourself as a reliable writer. It may not have been how you pictured freelancing, but a good client is worth cultivating – and they may well mention you to other potential clients.

Is starting your own outlet a realistic option?

Writing is a competitive world, and as a freelancer you will always be fighting with other freelancers for what can often be a small amount of work. You may prefer instead to take matters into your own hands by starting your own project. Often, this will begin with a blog; there are ways and means to monetize such a site, but you’ll need followers to make it happen. If you take this approach, social media is also going to be pivotal. Talented writers can still get read these days – and it can lead to higher-level recognition and a stable writing job – but there is still going to be a grind and you’ll need to have the discipline to produce content that is both interesting and regular.

The truth of the matter is that if you want to become rich and have a comfortable living doing something you love, writing is a sector that is filled with potential obstacles and it can be frequently disappointing. However, if writing is what you love, then there are ways and means of going about it – as long as you keep cultivating contacts, it can be a rewarding career.

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Students' Column

Experiencing Success After You Graduate



The university and college experience can be so long and complex that you get completely caught up in it. It’s fully immersive. So, when you graduate, you can easily feel completely disoriented and lost. Very few people walk straight out of their graduation and immediately into their first job. Instead, you’re going to have to find your feet and put a whole lot of effort into your own success. The steps you’ll need to take will vary depending on where you want to go and what you want to do. But the following pieces of advice can help you to get started out on the right track, regardless of what you want to do. Hopefully, they’ll come in useful for you!

Student graduation

Research Success Stories in Your Chosen Field

Whatever field you’re interested in entering, chances are, there are some pretty big success stories. Take a look at people who inspire you within your area of specialism. Who are they? How did they get to where they are now? What did they do after they graduated? This can help to inspire you and to give you some key tips that could really help you to follow in their footsteps. Remember that you are standing on the shoulders of giants. You can learn from the greats that came before you to further excel in the role or industry you’re determined to experience success in. If you’re interested in starting a business, take a look at Phillip Kingstons journey at If you’re interested in politics, read the biographies of great political leaders. If you’re interested in art, read the life stories and approaches of some of the greats. There’s all sorts of guidance and inspiration out there.

Use Your College’s Resources

Just because you’ve graduated doesn’t mean you’re immediately cut off from all of the resources that have been available to you at your college or university. Make sure to use the resources available to you for as long as they’re available to you. Many colleges offer training and classes on job hunting. This can include finding positions that suit your skills and experience, CV writing skills, interview skills and much more. These resources may seem basic and common sense, but you can actually learn a whole lot more than you’d imagine from them. You never know what tiny piece of advice could make all the difference to your entire career path.

Be Persistent

When you start applying for jobs, you need to develop a tough skin. Few people land the first job they apply for. Even fewer will be offered every position they apply for. You need to be prepared for some level of rejection and you need to make sure that you are persistent when faced with disappointment. Keep going and you’ll eventually land the kind of position you have your sights set on.

Of course, different areas of specialism will require different steps in the process. But the above advice should help regardless of what you plan to do. Keep it in mind and you should do well!

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Students' Column

Careers An MBA Can Open Up For Engineers



student education

If you are an engineer wondering what your next career step should be, it can seem as though the opportunities are almost endless!

On the one hand, you could continue to improve on your technical abilities and become a specialist in one particular area. This can be a highly lucrative strategy, and one that appeals to people who know which work they love to do and just want to learn more about it.

On the other hand, you could broaden your skill base and give yourself a wider range of career opportunities by undertaking an MBA. This is a great option for people who are looking to diversify their skills and introduce some new kinds of work into their day, and give themselves a great career outlook into the bargain.

Transferable skills

MBAs can provide you with a huge number of skills that are applicable in multiple industries.

An MBA will teach you about things like budgeting, strategising, accounting, financial management, system models, people management, marketing and business structures. These are all skills which can be highly beneficial in a number of industries or even for starting a business of your own!

Another great benefit of an MBA is that you will get to study alongside people who are also looking to accelerate their own careers. This means that you will make contacts who will not only become useful friends and a useful support network as you embark on the next stage of your career, but you will meet a huge array of people who you can learn from in unexpected ways.

The exact modules that you study will of course be dependent on which MBA course you choose to take up. If you are considering taking up an MBA in order to further your engineering career, then it’s worth researching MBA courses that are designed with engineers in mind. You can find out more here if this is something that appeals to you.

Read on to find out what careers an MBA could open up for you.

Engineering operations director

The three main skills that you’ll need to work as an engineering operations director are:

  • Analytical skills. The ability to gather and interpret data.
  • Math skills. The ability to perform addition and subtraction but also to visualise data.
  • Communication skills. The ability to clearly communicate your thoughts, opinions and ideas to those around you using a variety of methods, including presentations, via email and in person.

The average salary for an engineering operations director is $129,001 so it’s definitely a well paid position!

The main purpose of the role is to lead a cross-functional team to achieve the objectives that your department has been set. To succeed in this role it’s important that you have a good knowledge of engineering processes and engineering equipment, as you will be the one providing the overall strategy to your team on what needs to be done.

You will be responsible for the budget of your department and you will need to report regularly to your management on expenditure and progress. You will also devise and implement strategy for improving the performance of your department, as well as having an overall understanding of all the projects that are happening within it and ensuring that they are completed on time.

Vice president of engineering

A VP of engineering is part of the management team. As such you won’t get too involved with engineering, but you will get involved with solving logistical problems, dealing with personnel and working out budgets.

It’s an incredibly well paid job. The average salary is $170,000 per year, and at the higher end of the spectrum some VP’s of engineering are paid $270,000.

Your actual duties will vary significantly depending on the company you are working for. Engineering is a field that is hugely diverse, so the nature of the projects that you are overseeing will differ between companies. Whatever the company you are working for, you will be working in upper management. You will work alongside the president, product managers and other management staff in order to plan and oversee all aspects of engineering goals and operations within your company. You will ensure that the appropriate planning and testing procedures are in place to ensure that you deliver quality projects on time.

Generally you will spend a lot of your time in meetings, liaising with staff and ensuring that deliverables are met. You’ll also use your engineering knowledge to carry out site inspections, to ensure that everything is working as it should be and that everyone is working safely.

Engineering project manager

If you’ve worked in engineering you’ve no doubt come across your share of project managers! A project manager is used every time an engineering project is embarked on, it will be up to them to gather the requirements, see what is feasible and then plan out the project. They will then keep a continuous eye on the project to ensure that it is being delivered on time and within budget.

Having an engineering background is helpful if you want to work in engineering project management, because it means you will have a good instinct for what is possible within certain timeframes and budgets. However, collaboration with others will be a key part of your job. It’s essential that you have excellent communication and organization skills, so that you can keep the project team working together effectively.

The average salary for an engineering project manager is $140,760, although this varies hugely depending on the company you are working for.

Project managers have a varied and fulfilling career because they will spend their time working on a lot of different projects, meaning that they are always solving new problems and learning new things! In addition to this, project management is a field that can work really well as a freelance career. Many businesses prefer to bring in highly experienced contract project managers if they have a requirement for a fixed amount of time, as it means that they can more easily budget for the project in question. If you choose to work in this way the rewards can be even greater than the already generous salaries available to salaried engineering project managers.

The budgeting, forecasting, analytical and communications skills that are a key part of an MBA will give you the skills you need to complement your engineering background and create a fulfilling career as an engineering project manager.

CEO of your own company

As well as allowing you to work in a high level management or project position, obtaining your MBA could be your next step in becoming CEO of your own company!

Engineers are naturally analytical and great at making predictions and solving complex problems. These are all qualities that are highly valuable in a CEO. Combine the advanced business and strategic knowledge that can be gained from an MBA and you’ve got a pretty unstoppable combination.

A great example of an engineer who studied for his MBA and used this advanced knowledge to allow him to chase his dreams of being an entrepreneur is Rob Deering, founder of Australia’s Meet Billy.

Meet Billy is an app that allows older people to continue to live in their homes for longer. The basic idea is that the users daily activities are logged into an app. If they miss an expected activity then their family or carer can see this and be notified more quickly if something has happened.

The app works by using a series of internet of things (IoT) sensors to find patterns of behaviors. Smart analytics can then read the expected versus the actual behaviors and identify any changes before they become serious or result in a medical emergency. The app is already proving to be highly popular amongst users.

Rob started his career with a degree in mechanical engineering. He then worked as a consultant for five years, before embarking on his MBA. He credits his MBA for opening his eyes to new pathways, especially those that combined his skills in engineering and in business.

If you are thinking of using an MBA to open up opportunities of starting your own business, it’s a good idea to have in mind the type of business that you would like to start before you begin researching MBA programs.

By doing this you can approach your chosen institutions with your idea and they can let you know how best they can serve you. It’s a good idea to find a programme where the modules on offer will directly benefit your future plans, so that you can apply them to your business idea as you learn.

If possible it’s also a good idea to find an MBA course where there are links to the industry in which you would like to work. This will mean that you can meet people who will be helpful to you, either as business contacts or as people who you can learn from.

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