Landing a job with a private investigation company can be challenging especially if you have little to no experience in the field. Depending on the size private investigation agency you are applying for and the specific focus of that agency, the qualifications may vary as to what the company is looking for. I have had plenty of experience with hiring and being hired in P.I. field and I wanted to share what companies are looking for and what you can do to land a job as a private investigator.
HOW TO BUILD YOUR EXPERIENCE TO BECOME A PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR
There are not many companies in the private investigation industry that are willing to train their new employees from scratch. 10 years ago the economy was good and companies had money to spend on training and developing new employees. Large insurance fraud investigation companies would fly out employees to be trained at a central location for a week. This process was expensive especially if turnover was high. Companies have changed their hiring model significantly. Why train someone from scratch when there are plenty of good, experienced investigators looking for work?
Below are the things you can do to beef up your experience and get noticed by private investigation companies.
Volunteer to be an intern with a local private investigation agency
By becoming an intern part or full time, you will quickly learn how to search for information, edit surveillance videos, conduct phone pretexts, and become familiar with that agency’s processes. You can work along veteran investigators and pick their brain as much as you want. Working as an intern gives a company a chance to figure out what kind of person you are, and what kind of employee you might be. This is your chance to make a great impression. Many times companies will hire interns after the internship has been completed. I have personally known of individuals getting hired by a competing company immediately after finishing their internship at an agency.
There are many vocational schools providing classes in the private investigation industry. Though I have not had any personal experience with theses schools, this may be a low cost investment that provides more insight into the industry. I would pick your school carefully. Search for others that have taken the program to determine whether it helped them in their career path.
Work in a similar industry
Before my first job as a private investigator I was in the U.S. Army and a Loss Prevention Agent. These two occupations are what helped my land my first job as a private investigator. The company that hired me had great success hiring Loss Prevention Agents and transferring those skills to the private investigation industry. When I did my first interview and ride along I already understood some of the lingo which made the interviewer more at ease when making his decision.
Take online courses
There are plenty of private investigators that have developed courses online. I would suggest seeking out others that have participated in the course work before committing your time and money. I can’t personally recommend any courses as I have not participated in them.
Get a Degree
You really can’t go wrong by getting your college education. I personally would recommend getting your AA in Criminal Justice and a BA in something that complements it. I first received my degree in Criminal Justice to learn about the justice system. I also wanted to be marketable to more businesses in case the private investigation career didn’t work out. I am two classes and a little over two months away from getting my BA in Business Management. What I have found is that I have learned quite a bit that applies to running my own business which has helped me greatly. And who knows, if I decide to change careers in the future, I will have my degree to help me get there.
If you don’t think you have the time, you should consider online classes that complement your schedule. Do your class work at night or whenever.
Join Private Investigator Association
If you are looking meet others in the industry, joining a private investigator association will help you make connections. Many associations request that you be licensed before joining but many allow for those interested in the occupation to come to meetings and seminars. Sometimes you just have to know someone to get your foot in the door with a company. Association members in my experience have been more than helpful in sharing information and their experiences.
HAVE YOUR OWN EQUIPMENT
The days of companies providing you with equipment are just about gone. Maintaining the equipment that investigators use is just too much cost for a company to maintain. With that being said, you need to invest in yourself if you are serious about working as a private investigator. Below is the basic equipment that companies typically require you have available to you.
A video camera with removable memory (Memory Card). – Similar to what I am using (Affiliate link to Amazon)
Lap Top Computer – What I use (Affiliate link to Amazon)
Cell Phone (smart phone preferred)
Digital recorder – Similar to what I use (Affiliate link to Amazon)
Device to remove video from your camera and place it on your computer (example: Dazzle).
IF YOU HAVE EXPERIENCE AS A PRIVATE INVESTIGATORWhether you are looking for a new job or trying to move up in the company you work for, I have some simple advice. Continue learning. Furthering your education or obtaining certifications in this line of work can only strengthen your authority in the industry. Don’t become complacent.Continue to stay in contact with others in your occupation (managers, coworkers, past clients). You never know how the connection you make may help you in the future. I continue to stay in touch with coworkers that I have trusted from the past and it has helped me more than you know.I hope this article helps you land your next job. Feel free to contact me through the contact page or through my new Facebook page. Be safe out there.