Not having a job is a bit like not having a boyfriend or a girlfriend – it can be quite fun for a while but if you go without for too long people will start to wonder if there’s something wrong with you.
Alas, like having a boyfriend or girlfriend, it’s important that you constantly remain on the lookout for new opportunities and be ready to exploit them as and when they occur.
On that basis therefore, have you ever considered becoming a crime scene investigator?
You’ll feel like you’re on CSI every day when you turn up for work and you’ll also get to feel like a VIP at a nightclub because you’ll be allowed to hang out on the other side of the ‘Police Do Not Cross’ barricade tape.
If taking fingerprints from dead bodies and crawling around on your hands and knees looking for drops of blood with a magnifying glass sounds like your bag – here’s what you’ll need to do to become successful:
1. Grow a pair
As you can well imagine, crime scene investigators have to attend some pretty horrific scenes so you’ll need to possess the right emotional substance to be able to withstand the rigours of the job – throwing up at the scene of a crime and destroying all the evidence every time you see a dead body would not do your career any favours for obvious reasons.
2. Get some qualifications
You’ll be expected to have a minimum of high GCSE grades and A-levels, but ideally a good science based degree will stand you in good stead for the role. You’ll need good colour vision and you’ll also need to demonstrate photography skills so a qualification in this area would also be useful. Of course, simply taking selfies would not be sufficient as you’re unlikely to take selfies at a crime scene without getting the sack.
3. Be a little bit anal
This is not a reference to getting on with people as few jobs require you to be an asshole unless you work in PR, but you’ll need to be anal in the way you apply attention to detail. Crime scene investigators need to have the ability to spot things that nobody else would notice and then analyse this information accordingly. Every tiny piece of information that is gleaned from a crime scene may prove invaluable to a case, so you’ll need to remember to bring your nasal spray with you to work every day if you suffer from hay fever. Sneezing away the evidence is not advisable if you want to stay in the job for a significant period.
4. Use your logic
Solving crimes in real life is unfortunately nothing like Scooby Doo where the bad guys leave so much evidence lying around that even a talking dog can work out who the perpetrator was. Real life crimes are a huge jigsaw of disparate parts that are ultimately brought together through painstaking analysis and the crime scene investigator is an important part of this process. You’ll need to assess the evidence you have and use logical reasoning to paint a picture about what might have happened. It’s a bit like playing a really gory version of Cluedo!
5. Be able to communicate effectively
It’s quite common for police forces to assemble teams of investigators that work together so you’ll need to be able to communicate effectively with your colleagues for the well-being of the investigation. Written skills are also important because some of the documents you file will be used as evidence in court cases, so basic elements like good grammar could have a bearing on the outcome of a case if not used correctly eg. ‘The pen is covered in blood,’ versus, ‘the penis covered in blood.’
6. Pass an interview
An interview will usually take one of two forms. First of all you might be invited to an assessment centre and will be required to conduct a structured interview under strict conditions within a limited time period. Alternatively, you may be fast tracked to the final interview in front of a panel of 2 or 3 police officers where you will be questioned on your motivations for applying for the role and your general suitability for a career as a Crime Scene Investigator. Please, oh please resist the urge at this stage to make any reference to the hit TV show CSI, as the panel will inevitably have heard such jokes before and it will almost certainly not go down very well.
7. Undergo a physical exam
Once you’ve passed the final exam, you’ll need to pass a physical examination where things such as your eyesight will be tested. As we’re sure you’ll agree, a good crime scene investigator needs to be able to tell the difference between a blood stain and a coffee stain or it could cause a whole heap of problems (for whoever was drinking the coffee)!