I hear a lot of former FI talking about moving on. Where do you transition to that this background is useful? The best thing about this job is the travel and the self-made schedule. Are you finding other careers with those traits?
Unfortunately it is very difficult to find other work related to this career field. I was fortunate that as a retired law-enforcement officer, I was able to get back in the “ real” law enforcement career field. I would suggest looking at personnel security specialist or facility security officers.
Personnel security assistant or personnel security specialist would be a pretty smooth move. Anything is better than the grunt work of a FI/BI.
Gas station attendant
Another option if you want to stay in investigations is the state and local level and many of the positions are not sworn law enforcement.
State and local governments have positions ranging from background investigators for police and firefighter applicants to licensing and professional conduct investigators doing BIs and malpractice investigations on doctors, lawyers, teachers, real estate personnel etc.
If you have a financial background and are okay with traveling becoming a bank examiner may not be a bad option either
State of AK is always looking for investigators of some type. That’s Alaska. Not Arkansas. LoL
Analyst positions. While you won’t have the flexible schedule, you will be able to apply your analytical skills to the new role. It’s a bit hard to get your foot in the door (depending on where you are), but it’s a fantastic opportunity.
I’m starting to feel like I may as well have been unemployed all those years I was a BI since it’s not helping me find another job. Nobody that isn’t already doing cleared work themselves even understands what we did, and if they are cleared then it’s still a mixed bag. They don’t understand we were our own schedulers, timekeepers, administrators, IT support, etc and have no clue what we’re even qualified for. I explain all that in my resume and do so again during the handful of interviews that I’ve had, but because it’s a somewhat atypical job the interviewers still seem confused.
Prior to GDIT going under I saw the writing on the wall and started going to school for IT and I highly suggest anyone else that hasn’t done so already do the same… not necessarily with IT, but do something to make yourself marketable because lord knows being a former BI isn’t helping. Heck, just getting MS Office certified will help you get an admin job if nothing else. I’ll have my first IT cert soon and can hopefully find a job since my clearance isn’t expired yet.
I believe Alaska wants you to have a state license or be a resident of the state.
Depending on your degree, Probation isn’t bad either.
I feel the same way. I figured this experience would look great on a resume but no one even bats an eye at it lol. I’ve applied for countless positions, especially personnel security or industrial security jobs that pop up with the big companies like Northrop or Lockheed, but I always end up with an e-mail saying they went with someone else more qualified. I’m pretty much doing the same thing as you and going for IT certs
I’ve got a brutal refile that I’m plowing through this afternoon - I definitely didn’t crack open a beer at my desk here at home as consolation - but I’ll procrastinate for a minute and reply.
I’m really surprised at the sad-sack posts from some people - “my experience is useless, no one cares.” Now, I’ll put a caveat right out front, I am still working and getting cases as a contractor. So I’m not on the market like some of you. But I sincerely believe that this job requires a great skill set that is attractive in many fields - including fields more demanding and remunerative than security assistant. Those are nice people, but that’s drone work.
We go out and knock on doors. We assert ourselves with confidence with all kinds of people from all walks of life - on Monday I’m interviewing a cab driver in a poor neighborhood who is a RESI and then on Tuesday I’m interviewing the U.S. attorney. We have to write - clearly, concisely, and at great volume. Most of us work from home and need enormous self-discipline and self-direction. We’re comfortable in tough situations (“tell me about the DUI you omitted”). We know how to get into buildings and get past obstacles. We have to play 4-D chess in our brains during ESIs as we develop new info and think about what questions need to be asked and additional fieldwork scheduled. And so much more.
I’m not trying to discount the experiences of those who posted above. But I’d encourage you to sit down with a headhunter, placement agency or career coach - especially someone with experience in cleared work - and rewrite your resume and discuss other careers. Even though I’m still getting work I plan on sitting down with one in D.C. in the next month to figure out what color my parachute is.
I feel for those that were relying on this job as their primary source off income.
I thought I would like it, freedom to set your schedule, work from home and no real boss. Then the stupid reopens started. Some were legit, some were opinions and some were just wrong (didn’t follow the current guidance). And I could see the writing on the wall. I only did my mandatory year, but the backlog was gone and I knew there would be a work slow down.
I didn’t need to find a job as my military retirement and VA pay is overly meeting my needs.
Yeah I figured my experience would be more helpful as well, but like I said before… most people don’t understand how to utilize our skill set and I’m not the first person to post that on this forum.
What you think the experience should net and what it actually does are two different things, my friend.
You make a lot of great points, beneath the surface this job requires a lot of discipline, organization, time management, and other “soft skills”. However the work itself really doesn’t transfer over to much else, other than more “drone work”. Asking the same questions over and over and writing some reports isn’t exactly an in demand skill and not much for a headhunter to work with.
Switching careers/industries isn’t as cut and dry as talking to a career coach and rewriting your resume. Most fields have some sort of barrier to entry even for entry level positions, such as a related degree or relevant certification.
I do recognize that it’s on me to equip myself with the skills/knowledge needed to get a better job so that’s what I’ve been working on.
While a lot of people don’t know what to do with BI’s and their skills, you can market yourself in a way to help them understand. I was affected by the RIF at GDIT and was offered several Data Analyst and Program Assistant positions but ultimately decided on a personnel security position. I’ve seen people move to personnel security assistant, intelligence analyst, and investigative analyst positions. All with less than 2 years BI exp.
I’ll clarify, that I was an investigator for only 7 months before my layoff a few weeks ago, but I abso-freaking-lutely loved that job. I mean the moronic refiles were annoying, but I loved the driving, I loved interviewing people, I loved the investigative part of it. I was hoping to find another job that had a similar feel to it that wasn’t apparently dying
I would have agreed with you much more 5 months ago, but many BI’s that are out of work are having a very rough time if they are not in the DC/VA area. It seems MUCH easier to find a new job, and for people to value your clearance/experience in DC. This is a big country though with unemployed BI’s struggling immensely in many areas. You are very right about it being important to re-write your resume, once I changed mine and tailored it more to the jobs I was applying for it helped.
For anyone looking, in my 5 months of experience, and tons of rejections, a handful of interviews in the business world, the only luck I’ve had is at the county/city level. governmentjobs.com is a great resource to see what’s available in your area. It seems a lot of BI’s are having a hard time figuring out what they can (or want to) do, and at the local gvmt level there are definitely a lot of things we qualify for. Police records, 911 dispatch, admin/support roles, social services jobs, public guardian, etc but of course these and similar jobs are more readily available (and actually pay decent) in some areas more than others.
Yeah I’m not saying there aren’t any jobs we’re suited for… I’m saying that it’s not as easy as some people are making it out to be.
I live in an area with a decent amount of military bases and shipyards so there’s a need for persec type jobs, but I’m also one of dozens of BI’s trying to get those jobs. As the bottom falls out of the industry in my opinion it’s best to look into growing industries for employment rather than trying to fight for a spot in a saturated and stagnant field.
I’m going back to school and getting hard skills and IT certifications that speak for themselves so I don’t have to worry about craftily wording my resume and hoping a hiring manager interprets all of those BI soft skills favorably.
I do like your advice of looking at city/county jobs, though… To be completely honest I’d love to land an IT job in my small city. The pay probably won’t be the best relative to fed contracting or private industry, but I’m betting the hours will be better.
lol too funny!!! Sad but mostly true. nah I’m joking. But seriously, this job does provide you with a skill that most regular “office jobs” do not. It gives you thick skin. If you can talk to strangers in any setting, any location and under a number of different circumstances and still ask questions and obtain all the information being provided to you, that is a skill that not all people can do or even can learn to do. I feel that my years as an Investigator, I have gained a lot from. The job was rewarding in that I still felt I was serving our country even as the “Red-Headed Step-Child” Contractor. I always took the job seriously. It teaches you how to not be as judgmental as many would be. it teaches you how to read people: their body language and their comfort levels while interviewing. it teaches you organizational skills and discipline as one would need in order to perform this work from home and mostly, on your own.
Get into the Tech world. Go for certifications in the tech field. I would say cybersecurity.