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The Big Cats – Pouncing on a Career in Criminal Justice

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Sep 30, 2011 in Career Path, Job Search

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Criminal justice is currently one of the hottest fields in the career jungle. Prowling the tracks of a criminal or flashing by in a high-speed chase may sound like a job for a big cat, but you just might have the skills to pounce on a job in this exciting field! Here are a few of the hottest jobs in criminal justice available to you.

Cheetah – Patrol Officer

Whether a police officer, sheriff deputy, or state trooper, a patrol officer is highly skilled at chasing down criminals. Just as the cheetah is known for being the fastest land animal, patrol officers are recognized for their commitment to keeping communities safe. As a result, patrol officers have the most visible careers in criminal justice. But don’t get caught speeding with one behind you!

Median Salary: $60,800

Tiger – Detective/Criminal Investigator

A tiger’s stripes help him to blend into his surroundings as he prowls along the earth, searching for prey. Similarly, detectives often conduct investigations in civilian clothes to perform secret surveillance on their prime suspects. Detectives usually specialize in a specific area of crime, such as burglary, domestic violence, battery, or homicide. It may not be the glamorous job you’ve seen on CSI or Law & Order, but it will certainly be a rewarding career.

Median Salary: $64,900

Lion – Paralegal

Lions are the only big cats that often hunt in groups – although to be more precise, the lionesses do most of the work. They hunt in a coordinated group to circle a herd, then to take down a chosen victim which they bring back to the lion of their pride. Paralegals are the hunters for attorneys – although this isn’t to say that attorneys don’t do any work! Paralegals work alongside attorneys to research and prepare for a case by readying legal documents, investigating claims, and helping to decide how the attorney should proceed with the case. While they cannot argue a case in the courtroom, paralegals are just as valuable to the law firm as the attorney.

Median Salary: $51,900

Cougar – Corrections/Probation Officer

Cougars pursue a wide variety of prey, including deer, elk, moose, cattle, horses, sheep, and even insects and rodents. Corrections officers must be versatile too -they supervise all sorts of people in detention facilities, including both those arrested and awaiting trial and those convicted of various crimes. As a result, it is essential that they keep order in the facility. Probation officers have a similar function in supervising individuals recently released from prison who are on parole.

Median Salary: $55,800

Leopard – Forensic Psychologist

The leopard is known as the smartest of the big cats. An opportunistic hunter, he will silently stalk his prey and then pounce at the last second. Likewise, forensic psychologists are some of the sharpest in their league. They analyze an offender’s behavior in order to determine the individual’s mental state and level of competency at the time of the crime. They combine psychology with criminal justice by examining the various psychological perspectives associated with a crime.

Median Salary: $50,700

All median salaries taken from Payscale.com.

This guest post is contributed by Chris Jacobson. He runs a Criminal Justice Degree site and writes about various topics related to Criminal Justice. Criminal Justice Degree.
If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

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The Concrete Jungle – Criminal Justice

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on May 17, 2011 in Career Path

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Have you ever seen the television show Monk? I really like the show. He makes me laugh. I know the character drives some people nuts, so if you’re one of them, don’t worry. Keep reading.

Recently, I’ve been helping my sister find a new career, and I am constantly catching myself humming the Monk theme song: this world we love so much might just kill you, I could be wrong now, but I don’t think so – it’s a jungle out there.

It’s kind of an extreme song, but the tune jumps to mind as I help her scour the Internet for job openings. She has a bachelor’s degree in a specific area of expertise, an area of work in which she has lost interest. So, in essence, it’s a lot like starting out without an education. The only industry impressed with her degree is the industry she just left.

Right now, I’m currently (gently) pushing her in a new direction, because I’ve noticed a pattern. There seems to be several criminal justice jobs open. She thinks I’m bias, because I write for a criminal justice blog, but the longer we look, the more she believes me: the jobs are out there and many are in criminal justice.

For many of those positions, she wouldn’t have to go back to school or if she needed more schooling it would be just for a year or two with much of it online. (See, am I not persuasive?)

Monk is right; it is a jungle out there, so I think those of us who are job hunting should be thinking outside of the box. Unfortunately, our society has criminals, and therefore we have criminal justice jobs. My sister’s a smart woman. She’s a fast learner. I can see her excelling as a park ranger, a corrections officer, or a paralegal. I can even see her assisting jail administration.

More often than not these jobs promise fair wages, job security, and good benefits. Not something I can say about many other jobs. And helping others is part of your work.

Ultimately, of course, her career decisions are up to her, no matter how much I want to be the big sister. So I thought I should pass on my wisdom to the good readers of Job Search Jungle. As we look for jobs, let’s look where the jobs are, and don’t be quick to dismiss a field of study that might be great for us. Keep your eyes and mind open to all that the concrete jungle has to offer!

This guest post was written by Robin Merrill, who can usually be found researching the best criminal justice schools.

If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

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The Snake – Shedding Your Skin

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Nov 4, 2009 in Career Path, Job Search, Self Improvement

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In my recent article for the American Library Association, I offered some tips for moving from one industry to another. Just as snakes shed their skin, professionals sometimes need to shed some of the work they’ve done in order to land a new job.

Snakes shed the outer layer of their skin as they outgrow the old one, and even those that are not growing shed; replacing their worn scales with new, healthy skin. Some snakes shed every few weeks, others shed only about once a year. A new layer continuously develops below the surface of the old skin preparing for use. The snake begins the shedding process by rubbing its nose against rocks or other hard objects to start the separation of the old layer from its lips, and then crawls out of its old skin. This is why the old skins are often found intact where they were abandoned.

Whether your need to shed your old skin comes from economic pressure or from a desire for new challenges, any professional seeking to change industries need to first consider these points:

1. Determine What You Like to Do Most

You’ll have more success selling yourself to others if it’s for work you love to do. Employers are looking for what you’ve done in the past five years, so you will have to create links to a new industry by drawing from your most recent employment first.

Within that recent experience, identify the transferable skills. Everyone has them, and employers are looking for them, so determine what measurable, comparable skills are your strengths. Is it Excel? Managing sales teams? Technical writing? Cataloging? Focus on the skills you like.

2. Ascertain Who Else Uses that Skill Set

Take your transferable skill set and look for similar keyword strings on the Internet. Remember to use synonyms. What is “budgeting” to one company may be “forecasting” to another.

3. Consider Your Geographic Mobility

Some areas of the country are hard hit by the economy; others are not. Consider moving to a new area where there is greater demand for the industry you are moving in to. Your chances of finding a job in a new city with lower unemployment are much higher.

While most companies do phone interviews to start, you may be asked to interview in person within a few days. Being in or near the city where you are looking for work is always easiest. Many of us have friends and relatives across the country willing to help out; there are lots of people looking for short-term roommates.

4. Make Yourself Relevant — and Accessible!

Write your resume with the future in mind. Use all the related keywords you’ve found to re-tool your job descriptions. E-mail address and cell phone are fine for contact information, and use a local address on your resume whenever possible.

Obtain interim employment wherever possible. You’ll meet people who need help immediately who can also help you network. Taking temporary employment shows that you have a good work ethic and are serious about learning a new industry.

Strategically network in your desired geographic areas and industries. Join LinkedIn groups and look for job fairs or conferences where you can meet people who work at your target companies. Eighty percent of jobs are obtained through personal networking, not ads or employment agencies.

Consider retooling your skill set by retraining — many state and local governments provide assistance in this area. Contact your unemployment office and your local library to find out about programs offered in your area.

5. Follow Up … then Follow the Golden Rule!

One hundred percent of people leave a first message, but fewer than 15 percent will call a third time. Don’t give up. Keep trying to reach people who may have information for you. (Give them a few days to call back between messages, though.)

Do Unto Others

When you do find a job, make yourself available to others who may need your help and would benefit from the story of your journey.

>>>Based on the overwhelming response to this article, I’ll be hosting 2 interactive webinars this month with a focus on CHANGE:

CHANGING INDUSTRIES 

Learn how to specifically extract relevant experience from your background in order to change industries.  Please join me for a roundtable discussion of EXACTLY how to transform your resume into something that will translate from one industry to another.  The first 10 people to register will receive one on one telephone resume consultations prior to the webinar and have the option to participate as confidential “before” and “after” examples in the webinar.

 

CHANGING CAREERS 

We will layout unique executable strategies for people seeking to move their careers in a new way altogether.  Explore ideas to help you in choosing where you want to go and making an individual roadmap to get there.   Again, the first 10 people to register will receive a one on one telephone consultation prior to the webinar and have the option to participate as confidential “before” and “after” examples for other participants.

JOIN ME AND OTHERS FROM ACROSS NORTH AMERICA THAT WANT TO SHED THEIR SKIN!  The best way to get new ideas is to participate!

Carolyn Thompson

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