How to Find Jobs for Former Police Officers?
Andy Labrum, the founder of Blue Light Leavers, considers himself incredibly lucky, having had an amazing 30-year career as a Police Officer, doing everything from the first responder to CID, Public Order (Territorial Support Group), Dog Handler, promotion, response Sergeant, community policing, firearms team Sergeant, Head of Operational Training and more.
Andy married young and had a young daughter but was actually besotted and married to the job, even keeping a sleeping bag and pillow in his locker, working tons of overtime, and going out drinking with his workmates rather than going home. As a result, his marriage fell apart and despite giving it another go and moving to their home county, they eventually split.
Although amicable and seeing as much of his daughter as possible, it hit Andy hard and he continued to bury himself in work as a coping mechanism. Soon after the split, he joined the Dog Section. Andy's ex-wife remarried and some years later, he received a call from her telling him that they had been offered work in Sydney, Australia, and wanted to take their daughter. After initially fighting the decision, he sought legal advice and had to choose whether to let his 12-year-old daughter create a new life in Sydney or stay close to him and their family. After a huge amount of turmoil and upset, Andy made the heartbreaking decision to allow her the opportunity and let her go.
This was the first time that Andy really started to look at his options and for jobs outside Law Enforcement. No Force in Australia was recruiting and at that time there were no services or support available to help transition from the police into the private sector and he felt trapped with no idea as to how marketable his skills and experience actually were to organizations outside of Policing. He continued to bury himself in the job and then some years later, married Claire who was also a Cop and they have two children together.
After over 25 years of front line Policing and with a young family, the shift work was getting significantly harder and he 'felt like death, all the time.' Andy had also started to develop Alopecia where his hair was falling out, leaving random bald patches, so he went to his Doctor and realised then that something needed to change. The doctor gave him 2 options... Leave the job or find a new role away from the frontline. Andy managed to successfully apply for a training role that had 'regular hours' and this completely revitalised him. From here Andy was asked to take on a Project Role for his last couple of years for the largest collaborative programme ever undertaken by the Police service.. with no project management experience whatsoever! Andy undertook a Prince2 practitioner course and saw his time out, successfully delivering a number of workstreams.
Andy was of the opinion that he'd never undertaken project work before, however, he'd led and implemented a school program to bring police firearms officers into schools to talk about the dangers of carrying imitation guns and knives. When he was a community policing Sergeant, he set up joint funding between the Police and local council to fund taking kids who were on the edge of criminal behaviour, white water rafting with other local kids, and the policing team, to develop trust and new friendships. These were run as projects but were done informally and without realising it, he had been managing projects. Unintentionally, these experiences and achievements, something he's very proud of, gave him evidence for new roles outside of policing.
Andy Labrum and Blue Light Leavers
After completing his full 30 years of service, Andy retired from the police force, moving into Project Management, then Business Change, and cultural and organisational change. He has interviewed successfully for consultancies, Government agencies, transport, national infrastructure organisations, and more and has also interviewed many prospective employees. Andy has been working freelance since January 2019 and is now leading the rollout of Microsoft Office 365 to 40K members of staff across a huge national organisation.
On leaving the Police, Andy was being approached by more and more people who had heard he was doing well, to help with their CV's and offer advice and support. It got to the stage where he was getting many referrals and recommendations and alongside working full time and playing drums in a band and having a busy family life and helping coach his son's soccer team, he decided to create the Blue Light Leavers Facebook Group and Podcast. Now Andy helps officers from all around the world with career changes.
This article will answer the ultimate question, 'How to find jobs for former Police Officers.'
Are you thinking of leaving the Police? Are you looking for jobs for retired Police Officers? Andy will inspire you and provide guidance for transitioning from the police into the private sector.
Jobs for Retired Police Officers
Police officers massively undersell themselves however we do have a load of skills, qualifications, achievements, and experiences. Andy had always wanted to push himself and see how far he could go outside of Policing or in the Private Sector but had no idea what he wanted to do and having retired and only ever known Policing, he was scared and really unsure of his options. Many retired cops are looking for a pension top-up and there are so many options out there, a number of which are within the organisation they have just left. Bizarrely, this is sometimes looked as being an easy option but Andy considers this a great option for those that enjoy the Policing family and it's an easy transition. Other roles away from Policing include training, education, safeguarding, self-employment, retail, driving, post, transport and so many more! Finding a career after retirement is actually a hugely exciting time and remember... your first job outside doesn't have to be your forever job!
Jobs for Former Police Officers. How about Project Management?
One example of a great career for mid-service leavers and retired police officers is Project Management. Police have a great, pragmatic, can-do attitude (mainly) and exceptional stakeholder management skills, which is perfect for project management. After retiring from the Police, Andy's first application was for a Junior Project Manager role. However, the employer soon realised he had much more to offer and brought him in for a second interview, but what Andy didn't know was that it was for the next band up... a promotion before even starting. The problem was Andy lacked confidence outside of Policing and just didn't believe in himself.
Thankfully, the Programme Manager did and Andy was offered a more senior role and became the Project Manager of a project that had been running for 5 years, with just 7 months to go. This was in an industry he knew nothing about and where he inherited a fantastic team of 6 people. Using the skills and leadership experience from Policing, he shifted the team mindset from data-driven to results-driven and they delivered against the odds, on time and to budget.
There is help for former police officers
Andy is the type of person that wants to serve others. It's a cliche, however, his motive for joining the police force in the first place was to help others. That continues after retirement, where he wanted to help, by guiding and inspiring other police officers into finding new roles, so, he created the Blue Light Leavers Facebook group. A platform for support, and inspiration for police officers considering or transitioning into new roles.
Blue Light Leavers Facebook Group
The group is about giving the belief that a career change for police officers is possible. Andy created the Facebook group by inviting a large number of cops that had already successfully transitioned, mindset and career coaches, recruiters, and more and then cops, mid-service and pre and post retirement, looking for jobs or new roles.
Looking for how to find jobs for former police officers? Join the group. Some of the best coaches and recruiters in the U.K. are in the group. Andy has created an amazing network where people can ask questions and get answers! The group is not just police officers, but other first responders and prison officers too from around the world. There’s a document available inside the group that gives members the opportunity to add their former positions and what they are doing now to inspire those now looking. The group is also filled with recruiters. They advertise and watch what’s going on and if someone has a specific skill set that matches a role, Andy will personally reach out to the recruiter.
Blue Light Leavers Podcast
The podcast episodes are all about extraordinary people who have amazing stories to tell. Mostly, police officers who have gone on to do amazing new careers, but also a lot of episodes about how to write a CV, and about what recruiters are looking for. A recent podcast is with Travis Mills. Travis was one of only 5 surviving quadruple amputees from the Afghanistan/Iraq war. His motto is never give up, never quit. For Andy, it’s a privilege to share these stories with others and his aim is to give inspiration and hope that they have amazing skills, experience and options. Looking for jobs for former police officers? Not sure what your options are or how to write a CV? Be sure to listen to the Blue Light Leavers Podcast.
Transferable Police Skills
With regards to Police Officers transferable police skills and experience, it doesn’t have to mean you do the same thing in the private sector. For example, if you’re an investigator, you don’t have to work in a bank as a Fraud investigator. Instead, ask yourself, What did you enjoy best about the job? Andy's advice is to put your thoughts on paper. Look at why you joined the force and what you enjoy best about it and your role and equally, know exactly what you don't want to do and what you hate about it!
Controversially, Andy believes, "Transferable skills are not enough!" We have skills and we have experiences. You might be a great communicator, but unless you have evidence that maps across to the role you're applying for, it will mean nothing. It’s really important that people understand that they have skills and experience and that's what has to be evidenced, in the context of the role you're applying for". Don't be sold the myth given by many other post-policing career mentors, because you'll be very disappointed.
The task is to match your skills and experience to the job description and person spec that they want. When Andy mentors people, He asks, “What are you most proud of?” , “Where did you make a difference?” and “What are your achievements?”. That’s how you tease out meaningful evidence.
Transferable Skills Examples
How to find jobs for former police officers? Think outside the box to identify your skills. These 'transferable' skills might include situational leadership, for example, then there are the other soft skills such as the ability to communicate at all levels, the ability to make decisions under significant pressure, manage competing priorities, and also coaching and mentoring junior members of staff.
More examples of these skills include the ability to collaborate and work effectively with others, the ability to influence others, innovative and creative thinking, resilience and adaptability, particularly with regards to dealing with change and also the ability to self-reflect, learn lessons and adapt to challenges.
Andy loves seeing the following in the CV's of former officers:
- A proven track record of honesty, and integrity.
- The ability to collaborate. Police officers work with schools, social services, or other departments or government agencies. Think creatively.
- Stakeholder Management. In police work, the stakeholder could be your line manager, senior officers, colleagues, police staff, members of the public, victims, criminals, solicitors, etc. Stakeholder Management is a great thing to slip into your CV and LinkedIn profile.
- Another key skill is resilience. Police Officers see more in a few years than most people will see in their entire lives.
- Police officers have no choice but to work effectively under significant pressure.
How to transition from the Police into the Private Sector using LinkedIn?
Although it sounds obvious, the key is getting through the door to get the first interview and LinkedIn is a great tool to help you do that. When you do get through the door, those first few seconds make the biggest impression on the prospective employer, so be smart, be punctual, be friendly and smile.
These 4 tips will also help with finding jobs for former police officers and those transitioning from the police into the private sector:
- A LinkedIn profile cannot be the same as your CV. It needs to be a bit more relaxed. But, it does need to be up to date and relevant.
- Post a decent professional picture on LinkedIn. There is no need to get a professional picture done, but post something office-like. Also, post a cover photo. That shows you put the time into your profile.
- Tick the box that shows you are open to being approached by recruiters!
- As podcast guest Jamie Davies shares, actually reach out to the contact person on the job description.
How to Find Jobs for Former Police Officers: Hire a Professional CV Writer
Andy highly recommends hiring Charlotte Eve to professionally write your CV. She’s written many CVs for police officers all around the world. A reason Andy invited Charlotte to join the Blue Light Leavers group is her work ethic. She helps people who are vulnerable, for example, those who haven't worked in a long time, people coming off maternity or paternity leave, the long term unemployed, those made redundant or those really struggling to find a job. Andy says, "It’s worth investing in getting your CV done professionally". Initially, Andy wrote his own CV, but Charlotte is the expert and has since written his CV and he's been successfully recruited as a result.
Your CV needs to be achievements led with the first few sections of your CV being the most important. You have to make sure you write all the right stuff including highlights and key skills and achievements on the first page. Also, consider adding bullet points to ensure it's an easy read. Write your career history chronologically and in bullet form. Keep it simple!
Applicant Tracking System (ATS)
If you don’t have keywords in your CV, the system will not filter you through to a review by a human being. That’s why it’s so important not to have one generic CV/resume. You need to seriously match the keywords of the job description and person spec, especially in the first few paragraphs of your CV.
How to find jobs for former police officers? Use Andy's advice, put all this into practice and you stand a much better chance of successfully finding that new role outside of Policing.