Taking skills to a whole new beat

Posted in Leadership, Mentor Minute

Taking skills to a whole new beat

Globe and Mail Careers Section, C2, Wednesday June 4, 2008


A reader asks: I’m in my late 50s and will soon retire from a lengthy career in policing. I would like to continue working and make use of the wide array of management skills that I’ve developed as a senior officer – but in a completely new field. What steps do I take for such a move?


There is little doubt that the world outside of policing will benefit from your skills and experiences. Here’s how to get started.


Consider taking time off before you start your next career. Chances are there are countless things you’d love to do, or places you’d love to visit. This break is also a good time for generating new ideas of what you might like to do next. (Just ensure that your break isn’t too long – your experience might lose some of its relevance.)


Before you start to research companies that might benefit from your skills, start with a close assessment of who you are and what makes you tick so that you can ensure your next profession will fulfill you. Some questions to ponder: What are your values? What is important to you? What are you passionate about? What do you strongly believe in? What legacy do you want to leave? The answers will point you in the direction of the types of companies to approach.


You need to determine which of the array of skills that you developed during your years of policing can be transferred to other organizations. Leadership, managing difficult situations, analysis, strategic planning and public speaking are all transferable skills. You can also look at the results you have produced as a senior officer and articulate them in a way that will show how they can be applied to another organization. If you aren’t sure how to get started, ask those you have worked with to help, or consult friends outside of policing to generate ideas.


A big career transition such as this is the perfect time to get some outside help. Determining your values, strengths and transferable skills, résumé writing, how to start your own business, financial planning, etc. are all areas that may require the assistance of career consultants and business experts. Don’t go it alone if you want to expedite your success on your next career path.

Katie Bennett is head of Double Black Diamond Coaching in Vancouver.

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