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That Dreaded First Application to be a Cop

April 30, 2009

You know that filling out that first application to get into the police force is going to likely scare the beejeepers out of you. That’s normal, even expected, but manageable with a few pointers. The first thing you have to know is this, if the instructions on your application say to do something a certain way – do it precisely that way, not some other way. E.g. if it says type such and such report, then type it, don’t write it out by hand or that will lose you points.

That’s one of the key things many recruits fail to realize when they get the application forms to join a police force. They’re too busy being nervous and don’t pay attention. Well, right there that isn’t a good sign that you can’t pay attention under stress. So look at it this way. If you were an examiner reading over the applications, if the potential recruit filled out the typed section by hand and the hand written section by typing it out, then what would you think?

If the recruit is asked to put X’s in certain boxes and puts in check marks or fully colors the box in with black ink, what would you think? You’d be thinking this person doesn’t know how to read for one thing, and the second thing that would come to mind is that they don’t know how to follow written instructions. So logically, would they know how to follow verbal instructions? Or would they not be paying attention to those either because they are nervous?

In order to wrestle the anxiety to a stand still, just simply take your time and slowly and carefully read each section of the questionnaire you are going to be filling out. Figure out what is being asked first before you start answering anything. Don’t fill this crucial application form out in the middle of a busy coffee shop with your friends talking to you at the same time.

Make sure you answer all the questions. You’d be surprised how many people miss things when they’re nervous. Here is a great tip to handle the nerves. Make a working copy of your application and fill IT out first. This will eliminate any errors you may make on the original.

If you’re asked for specific documents, make sure you have the right ones and remember to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. If you don’t, you’ll get caught out later during a background check. Let your references know you are applying for the force and keep a copy of what you submitted. Why? You want to keep a copy because if you apply to other forces, you want to be consistent.

If they want certain documents notarized, make sure you get that done properly and get all your papers in on time, not right at the eleventh hour. If you slow down and do it right the first time, you will have more of a chance of making a good overall impression. Besides, you only get one shot at leaving a lasting impression, so make sure you use it wisely.

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