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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 Breeze – Cool Summer Job Tips For Students

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Jun 22, 2010 in Career Path, Self Improvement

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No one wants their kids to grow up too quickly. We can never have time back from when we were younger, but let’s face it; our kids ARE growing up more quickly. They are more technologically savvy, they have larger vocabularies and many have traveled the world before they even leave high school breezing through a more connected world.

The generations that have wanted to make their kids lives easier have succeeded. But this is actually making job searches tougher for these young people as competition for entry level jobs has dramatically increased.

Consider these tips for high school and college students-

High school summer jobs introduce us to a hard day’s work. That’s how you make money- you go to work, do a good job, and they pay you. High school is a great time for fun summer jobs where extra help is needed like camp counselors, lifeguarding, babysitting, caddying, amusement park work, landscaping, pet sitting, waiting tables, or catering.

As the college students arrive home this summer, our inclination is to let them cool off and have a break from their studies and enjoy their “free” summers (before they have to work full time.) Unfortunately, they will be at a huge disadvantage if they haven’t had a college sponsored internship or some other position giving them the chance to try out professional work before they have to work full time.

It’s easy for college students to revisit their old high school summer jobs for some extra cash, but 3 or 4 summers later, those skills aren’t going to be the ones employers are seeking. Sure, they will have shown dependability by being on time and they’ll have learned to be individually accountable for their actions, but unless they have assumed responsibility for managing, scheduling, preparing correspondence for the company, and doing some basic bookkeeping or payroll using Microsoft office including word and excel, it’s possible the skills they’re building won’t be suitable for a professional entry level job after graduation. College students should have one or two internships under their belt or in the bag by their sophomore and junior years.

Many colleges have companies that solicit interns for formalized programs. Motorola, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Ebay, Microsoft and many other large corporations have formalized internship programs. If your student is interested in pursuing that type of work you can research the company websites and call human resources for information on the educational requirements for admission. These programs are very competitive but often yield job offers for participants.

Remember, over 80% of employers are small businesses. Ask the merchants you patronize as well as people you know personally if your student could interview for a 6 or 8 week assignment while they are home from college. Your local business journal or chamber of commerce are great resources to use when researching small businesses in your area.

Support your students by planning your summer vacations so they can work a meaningful 6 or 8 week program. Help them prepare their resume but show them how to research information to follow up on themselves and set up their own interviews. If they are juniors or seniors you could enlist a few sessions with an executive coach to help them hone their interview skills before sending them out to apply.

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