Part III. Getting Hired
Note: In this section we consider the two main ways of making your dream of working overseas a reality.
Ok, so you’ve read the first two sections (Seriously, read the second section.) and you still want to work overseas. What do you do to get hired? First of all I have a little more bad news, the CivPol and Justice Sector jobs are getting harder to find. Here’s why – Iraq has wound down and Afghanistan is starting that process, Eastern Europe is winding down. There are fewer jobs out there then there were 5-6 years ago. The government is broke and cutting back funding. At the same time you have a lot of people, who have done a mission or two, or who are currently in a mission and faced with being downsized. Many of these people liked the work and/or the money and want back in or want to stay in. There is a supply and demand problem. I suspect this will result in the pay going down in the near future not to mention it being harder for a person who is new to this type of work to get hired. The good news is Africa and Central-South America are picking up and with any “luck” Syria will be open in the future. As long at the US wants to play world policeman and fight never-ending wars on drugs and terror there will always be jobs for Rule of Law professionals. Someone will profit from our folly, it may as well be you.
Here are my thoughts on getting hired. There are two ways to do it. One is the “Who you know” game and the other is the “Numbers” game. If you haven’t worked overseas before you probably should try both.
The “who you know” method is the easiest. If you have experience in the Rule of Law area (Cop, Prosecutor, Judge) and you have decided you want to work overseas. Think about who you know, or who you know who knows someone that does. Contact them, network, and get them to give your résumé to their boss. If you feel this is taking unfair advantage or not kosher, get over it. That is how most of the people in this business get hired. There are so many people looking for these jobs that potential employers are inundated with resumes, they don’t like looking at hundreds of resumes and there are so many idiots with good-looking resumes applying for these jobs that a recruiter or employer is looking for someone they know is “OK” or for someone somebody they know vouches for. Trust me if the person(s) you talk to doesn’t really like you they won’t forward on your résumé or they will do it with a weak endorsement. So don’t feel bad about asking. They are, however at least likely to tell you whether there are any openings now or in the near future and they will probably know who you should contact. Knowing someone in the biz is vital.
The second method, and the way I got started is the “Numbers Game” method. I went on the internet, found all the companies I could that were remotely involved in anything I thought I might qualify for or be interested in and I applied. There are a couple of things to remember about the numbers game. First of all apply for every job you think you might vaguely be qualified for. Employers, when they type up the job requirements, are thinking about the perfect candidate. They might not get the perfect candidate and they might settle for you. Good enough is a win! Secondly fill out the forms completely, check for spelling and grammatical errors. You should have several different resumes highlighting your experience in different ways for different types of jobs. This method is a pain in the neck and takes up a lot of time as each employer probably has its own fill in the blank web application process. If you have the option, save or print out the application when you finish, it could save you time in future applications. Be aware I started filling out online applications in the spring of 2008 and it was the spring of 2010 before I was hired for my first job. It could take a while. But if it is something you really want to do keep at it. Expect to fill out literally hundreds of applications.
Below are links to a number of companies I have worked for, received job offers from or applied to. This is not a complete list. Be resourceful, there are also websites out there who are headhunters for companies that hire people for overseas work, use those as well:
Engility (formerly MPRI): http://www.engilitycorp.com/
Checci Consulting: http://www.checchiconsulting.com/
©2012 by Steven Fenner