How to Be a Detective

Two Methods:Professional DetectingAmateur Detecting

The skills of detection are desirable traits for careers at all levels of government service. If you feel you have a natural skill set that includes deductive reasoning, analytic thinking, and enjoy the thrill of the unknown, a career as a detective might be right for you. It's not just something that happens to people on TV.

Method 1
Professional Detecting

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    Make sure it's the right job for you. Being a detective with a local, state or federal law enforcement agency is a demanding job, both physically and emotionally, in addition to requiring you to be mentally sharp at all times. You'll probably put in a lot of hours and see disturbing crime scenes. Ask yourself if you're prepared to deal with these elements of the job.
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    Get a degree. If you want to be a high-ranking detective working on priority cases, you'll likely need a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice. Find an accredited university or college (not a website claiming to offer criminal justice degrees) and put your four years in. A college degree will help you earn a higher salary and advance your career.
    • Learn a second language if you can. Speaking another language, especially in an ethnically diverse area, is a huge benefit as a law enforcement officer. It will help you make yourself useful and attract positive notice from your superiors.
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    Put in patrol time. Most law enforcement officers start as patrol officers and move up as positions open. Keep your skills sharp so that you can test well and present a stunning application when a detective gig opens.
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    Submit a strong application. When a detective slot opens, focus heavily on your application for the promotion. Highlight all the reasons why you're the best candidate, and discuss why your strengths make you a perfect fit for the job. Reread any written submissions several times for proofreading, and have a friend read it for clarity and spelling, if possible. Be prepared to take tests, undergo evaluations and answer probing questions, such as what your weaknesses are.
    • Display mental toughness throughout the process. Your ability to organize information in a coherent manner while withstanding distressing or drawn-out situations will be vital to becoming a competent detective. Show your superiors that you already possess this aptitude.
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    Stay balanced. Police work is currently listed as the third most stressful job in America. Keep an eye on your stress levels, and develop a hobby to help you relax and ultimately be better at your job when you're on the clock.

Method 2
Amateur Detecting

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    Cultivate an eye for detail. Great observational skills are critical to being a competent detective. Pay attention to the details most people miss, such as small objects and slight variations in someone's story. To improve your talents, practice memory games that force you to remember and catalog details. Make a habit of observing your surroundings, even when there is nothing in particular to observe. You never know what you might spot, and you'll be honing your detective skills.
    • If you want to, get yourself a kit containing observational tools. It should include a magnifying glass, binoculars, fingerprint dusting powder, etc. If you can't buy a kit, try to find somewhere that will tell you how to make a detective kit with items around the house or are easily obtainable.
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    Develop your reasoning skills. Being able to think through a problem without making illogical leaps will help you resolve cases and make more educated guesses. Try practicing cryptograms, nano grams, and Sudoku puzzles.
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    Pay attention to what's happening. Learn how to pick potentially interesting events out of a crowd by noticing subtle cues, such as slightly raised voices or agitated hand gestures. As you pay more attention to human behavior, you'll be better able to pick out odd and inconsistent acts. Look closely at people's facial expressions and the behaviors to which they are connected.
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    Know how to find information. Learn what is a matter of public record, and how to obtain it. Several government-related documents can be requested under the Freedom of Information Act. Being tech-savvy and knowing how to find information via the internet can be one of your most valuable skills.
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    Practice asking questions. You should be able to get to the heart of a matter without putting somebody on their guard or making them uncomfortable. Avoid yes-no questions and focus on questions that require real answers - for example, ask "Where were you around 4 p.m.?" instead of "Were you at home around 4 p.m.?"
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    Keep notes. Write down your observations in as much detail as you can. Reading over your notes later might spark your memory and help you recall something you thought you'd forgotten.
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    Be subtle. If you're doing detective work, don't broadcast it to everyone - detectives are supposed to fly under the radar. If you're tracking someone or gathering clues, try to look as normal as possible and blend in with the crowd. If your target sees you, always have something that will make you look less suspicious like a book or MP3 player.
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    Stay safe. Never compromise your safety in the name of solving a case. Avoid putting yourself in dangerous situations or tracking suspicious people to secluded locations - they might be luring you into a trap.
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    Training for Detective. By and large, people looking for a vocation as a detective need to begin off as cops. This implies, selecting in a police foundation is imperative. Police foundations could be found in all states, offering preparing projects offering for people. The principle point of such projects is to outfit people with the fundamental ability and experience. From overseeing lower arms to self-protection methods, preparing spreads numerous diverse territories. Each one state has its own particular investigator necessities for law requirement executors. To turn into a detective, you have to first figure out what confirmation necessities exist in your state. You may need to finish a specific number of analyst preparing hours to qualify.[1]


  • Be confident. You can't show fear to the criminal even if you are scared. This will allow him/her to catch you off-guard.
  • Be cautious. Civilians are top priority-keep them safe!
  • Always obey the law. An amateur detective does not have any special legal permissions.
  • Don't spy unless you are absolutely sure about the person's intentions.

Article Info

Categories: Careers in Government