So you would like to be a private investigator, but are not confident you have the skills and background required? Well you do not have to worry.
In this piece of writing we shall set out the basic requirements for anyone hoping to work in this field.
Ex police officers, unsurprisingly, are often for the most part attracted to working as private investigators. In general they tend to be people who enjoy an inquiring mind, an interest in legal matters, and an aspiration to see justice done. And it is certainly true that skills and experience gained in the police service (not to mention the contacts) can come in very handy for a private investigator.
Having a background based in the police is by no means essential, however. Any person, potentially, can become a private investigator. You certainly do not need any special abilities or credentials (however in some US states and in certain other countries you will have to apply for a license).
Also a lack of educational qualifications should prove no barrier to success, and you certainly do not have to be male. Many private investigators are women, who tend to succeed in matrimonial and domestic areas of the trade.
Certain personal characteristics are advantageous, though most will come with time and practice. Assertiveness and perseverance are important, along with good eyesight (aided by glasses or contact lenses if required) and surveillance skills. And, if you are not the kind of individual who relishes sitting in a car all night keeping tabs on a subject, then you are unlikely to make a good investigator.
This is one of very few opportunities where you do not have to be young to accomplish something. In fact, older private investigators are often hired in preference to younger, inexperienced, less streetwise individuals. Maturity and common sense are essential traits for this game.
Skills, both physical and acquired, depend on the kind of work you specialise in. Private eye Irwin Blye has more than thirty years experience. In his book Secrets of a Private Eye he lists the indispensable personal characteristics for success as diligence, good observation, being prepared, resourcefulness, creativity, inquisitiveness, patience and neutrality. Fellow author and experienced investigator Edward Smith says the most important qualities of all are objectivity, thoroughness, self-reliance and accuracy.
Perseverance is a very important characteristic. You might spend days shadowing a subject, just to find the trail suddenly runs cold. Following this you may go to the public records office to look for written evidence, only to spend several days in a musty vault and find nothing! At this stage a professional investigator takes a deep, then decides on his next line of attack. An amateur simply gives up.
Inquisitiveness is another indispensable characteristic without which you will get nowhere. It is a good idea to bear in mind the six prompts used by the investigative journalist: what, why, when, where, how, who. Every answer to every problem can eventually be found using those six words.
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