By Matthew Loux, faculty member at American Military University
Whether you want to be hired by a police department, transferred to another unit, or get promoted, you have to attract the attention of those who can help get you where you want to go. It is important to stand out among the crowd.
First, you have to figure out who you are, which is, in essence, your personal brand. Here are some steps to help you identify your brand and use it to market yourself for that next career or promotion opportunity.
Discover Your Brand
The first step is to understand yourself and your strengths. Strengths usually coincide with passions. Whether you want to make a difference by joining a police force or have a desire to work specialty cases, you have to find what drives you to do your best. Maybe you strive to be in a management position. You must analyze your strengths to determine if your qualities fit your aspirations.
Another aspect of discovering your brand is to ask yourself what makes you unique to the department. Your uniqueness may center around personal experiences that allow you to relate to certain aspects of police work, specialized training, a college degree, or another specialty.
Listing and identifying your strengths, weaknesses, and uniqueness is the first step in your journey. Take out a piece of paper and dividing it into three sections: strengths, weaknesses, and uniqueness. Then brainstorm and see how many different aspects you can come up with. Ask family and friends for their opinions on how they see you. Take time to understand each of these components.
Target Your Brand to Your Target Market
Once you have identified and narrowed down your brand, you have to market it to the right audience. Find your target market so you can place your talents and skills in the best light and land that job or promotion.
Who needs to know about your brand and the benefits you can bring to the department? Maybe it is the hiring personnel, human resources, sergeant, captain, or even higher. Once you have identified the right audience you can market yourself to them.
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Take the time to identify your competition and determine what they have to offer. This is absolutely essential to your brand because once you know your competition you can differentiate yourself from them and show your audience the unique qualities you offer.
Communicate with your Target Market
Now that you have identified your unique brand and your target market, you must find a way to communicate effectively. There are several ways to make connections, but I recommend speaking with people in person or over the phone. Ask questions to find out more about any position that interests you.
By contacting the people who are part of the decision process, you are telling them about your brand and how your skills can benefit them. You’re also building relationships.
Continue to Improve
Now that you have identified your brand, competition, and target market and communicated with the right people, you should have some great insight into how you can continue to improve your brand and market yourself. Maybe you need a college degree, training in a particular specialty, or simply more work to develop your talents and passions so you can land that next great job or promotion.
About the Author: Matt Loux has been in law enforcement for more than 20 years and has a background in fraud, criminal investigation, as well as hospital, school, and network security. Matt has researched and studied law enforcement and security best practices for the past 10 years.