Taft, Why Are You Looking For A Job?

I’m glad you asked.  One of the most important things for recruiters and potential employers to know about me is why I am seeking a new job.  Though it may not seem relevant at first glance, I think it is one of the most important questions one can ask.  So, I will try to briefly explain the personal and professional reasons for my decision.


I cannot stress enough how difficult the decision to consider leaving my job was.  I love being a detective and working for my PD.  I am excited to go to work every morning.  Our team of investigators is top notch, and I trust every boss in my chain of command.  I have fought alongside them and would do so again without a second’s thought.  Maybe the most important reason that I love my job is because I am good at it.  Few things bring me more satisfaction than being the detective who gets most of the big and important cases – the the most sensitive and difficult financial investigations.  The new (interim) Chief of Police recently referred to me as his “superstar.”  Frankly, I think I’m the best damn investigator around (FYI: all detectives think that).


Despite my hubris in the previous paragraph, there are some areas in which I struggle.  When I joined the SRT (Special Response Team – synonymous with S.W.A.T.) two years ago, my tactical skills were pretty weak.  I have improved since then, but I would classify myself now as aggressively mediocre.   I struggle with tactical concepts that seem easy to the other members.  Fortunately, I was able to recognize my weakness and have capitalized on my strengths; instead of focusing on a tactical career path, I changed my trajectory and applied for detective.


Back to the question at hand: why do I want to leave?  There are several reasons, most of which have little to do with my day-to-day responsibilities.  For the sake of avoiding a jumbled mess, I will list each one separately and in order of importance.


  • My social life (or lack thereof) – The local population is approximately 18,000.  It was once the epicenter of the furniture industry, but nearly all of the jobs have moved overseas.  When the jobs left, the young professionals followed.  Within this area, my age group collectively has more tattoos than teeth.


  • Compensation – Unfortunately, this is not the same money complaint you hear at every job.  My agency has not received a significant cost of living raise in my six years.  Our starting salary is now more than $10,000.00 less than several nearby agencies of comparable size.  I am not bitter about pay as I know that the money simply is not there, but I can only deal with it for so long.


  • Promotional opportunities – I am an excellent detective and police officer.  My worst performance review to date was “above expected” (3.89 / 5) and my most recent was “exceptional” (4.41 / 5).  Unfortunately, my performance has little to do with my upward mobility.  This is not because I have done anything wrong or because the brass has it out for me; that is simply the way most paramilitary organizations operate.  Being a top performer is great, and I feel appreciated, but it does little (if anything) to help me move up the ladder.


  • The way I am paid – This one is obviously related to low pay, but it is different enough that it deserves its own bullet.  I want my income to reflect my performance.  That doesn’t mean I am looking for pure commission or huge bonuses – I only want my earnings to be commensurate to my performance.


  • Family – About six months ago, my immediate family moved from North Carolina to California.  Living away from my family has never been a problem (boarding school and college were both far from home), but the fact that I cannot afford plane tickets makes it harder to be so far away.


So, there you have it.  I love my job, but it is time for a change.  In future posts, I’ll discuss what I can offer your organization.


Until next time,



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