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Police and Law Enforcement Home  >  Police Job Search Tips  >  The Interview: How to Handle the Opening Statement

Police Job Search Tips                                                                                Pages: 1    2    >

 Police and Law Enforcement News
 Sunday, December 22, 2013
  6:19 .m.


Most law enforcement job interviews begin with the following words, "Tell us about yourself." 

Sometimes the question is phrased, "You have the floor."  Other times, the panel members will just ask if you would like to make an opening statement.

No matter how it begins, those of us who have been involved in the law enforcement hiring process are often surprised how poorly prepared many applicants are for the beginning stages of the interview.

If given the opportunity, should you make an opening statement?  The answer is a resounding Absolutely!

An opening statement is an opportunity, not a hurdle.  It's an opportunity to control a portion of the interview.  It's an opportunity to highlight and talk about topics that emphasize the strengths of your candidacy, topics that may not come up during the question-and-answer portion.

So, putting together a powerful and effective opening statement is essential in preparing for the interview. 

For the sake of the law enforcement interview, an opening statement should last at least one minute but no more than two.  You don't want it to be a quick sentence or two, but you also don't want it to drag on for ten minutes. 

Don't get caught up on the time recommendations.  If you don't have a full minute of good material, that is okay.  Just make sure to get your positives out there.

Start by making a list of skills, traits, or accomplishments that you absolutely want get covered during the interview.  Examples may be the fact that you are bilingual or you received a prestigious award from work or your community or even that you have an impressive body of volunteer work. 

Once you identify the most important topics in your background and personal history, start putting the statement together. 

Begin with a quick introduction.  Tell them your name and a little bit about yourself.  As you progress, try and start with the best or most important aspects you want to mention.  Do this in case they cut you off and you don't have a chance to complete your statement.

Make sure to construct your statement in a coherent and organized manner.  You don't want to sound like you are rambling off a planned collection of facts.  Also, please don't drag the word, "uh," in between each of the bullets on your list.

Your statement should be communicated almost like a story with a clear beginning, a  body, and and ending.

After presenting the material you deem important, feel free to mention, if applicable, how passionate you are about landing the position.  "Becoming a police officer has been my dream, and, if given the chance, I will do an outstanding job."  Something like that - in  your own words - is a great way to end your opening statement.

You just have to be truthful and sincere.  You are facing a panel of men and women who have been trained to smell baloney from a mile away.  Do not even consider going in and pretending to be something you are not.

Once you have crafted a good opening statement...

Continued on Page 2

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