Recently I have found myself getting busier and busier as the weeks go on. This is mainly due to the huge volume of application material I have been required to complete in applying to the Police. While I am extremely thankful to have not been rejected yet, I won’t be sad when the day comes for no more electronic forms, tests and questionnaires! It has however, been a big learning process since failing at the first hurdle for the Metropolitan Police Graduate Scheme in December. This was particularly demoralising and for the first time made me realise how difficult joining the Police may be. However, I have since improved some of my weaknesses and am currently a couple of stages in to a couple of jobs. I have a long way to go, but this blog is dedicated to some of the things I have learnt and found to be crucial. Whilst this is based on my experiences with Police applications, I’m sure these tips are transferrable.
Timekeeping, Fore mostly is the most important I have found during the process. When applying for the Police, like many other jobs, certain tasks and assessments that you are required to complete have to be done by a certain date. It is crucial therefore to make a note of all the developments on each application to be sure you do not automatically get rejected by failing to complete them on time! You also want to give yourself as much time as possible on the task, so leaving it until the last minute means you are more likely to rush it and make errors which could also lead to failure. I have found that using the ‘Sticky Notes’ feature on my laptop means I am constantly reminded of the dates and deadlines which I need to keep track off.
What do I actually need to do and how does it work? I have found that many ‘instruction’ emails for the following task may not be that specific in what the next stage requires me to do. So even if you do not plan on doing some of the application as soon as you are notified of it, it is well worth clicking through the stages to see exactly what is required. This could save you in two ways, as firstly logging in successfully enables you to see that the links provided are working, but also by getting used to the format as many of the links sent to you are from external testing websites which are not always straightforward. Seeing the information that is required is especially important in terms of references for example. Logging in at 3.28pm on a Friday afternoon when it is due 9.00am Monday may mean that any issues you have may not be resolved. I had some trouble checking if my Head of 6th Form was still at my School, had I been under those time limitations I may have had to omit that reference.
What are they looking for? Several of the tests I did were accompanied with practice answers and extra explanations of what was to follow. While it may seem simple, these can often provide vital information to include in your answers and responses. By looking at this material you give yourself the best chance of giving answers that they are looking for and perhaps give you hints if you get stuck. After failing my MPS Graduate Scheme, I searched for practice questions and tips online. Surprisingly, there were many websites that were helpful that I found quickly. I also came across several forums, which whilst may not be ‘official’, had answers and questions from other unsuccessful and successful applicants. Searching to see if there are any forums for your job/company to aid your application is well worth a couple of minutes on google.
And finally, complacency! Whilst confidence is important, not being complacent is essential. Some seemingly questions may be very simple yet require specific answers to succeed. Another example, are tick box sections; which whilst can be completed quickly can also mean instant failure. For example, on my police application there was a question regarding if I had a right to work in the UK. The previous 15 questions had all been simple No’s, had I skim read and rushed through this question a ‘No’ would ended my application there and then.
I hope this advice is helpful, it is certainly something that is learnt with more practice! My fingers are crossed for a huge next week which could see 2 job application decisions and exams results!
If you are not yet applying for jobs, not sure what you want to do or just want more information; social media is the way forward! Most companies advertise recruitment and other opportunities via Twitter and Facebook accounts which are worth liking and following to keep updated.
Any questions, please feel free to comment below.
Thanks for reading,