Home » Business » Careers and Jobs

What Are the Key Requirements For Becoming a Private Investigator?

Sep 4, 2008
If you aim to succeed as a private investigator, there are certain key requirements you will need to meet. In this article I will aim to set out what these are.

1. A businesslike approach

As a private investigator, you will be a freelance business person like any other. That means you will have to keep financial records, advertise and sell your services, and generally fulfill all the duties and responsibilities of anyone setting out in business on their own. This is so important it is worth repeating: however good you are as an investigator, you must be businesslike in all your dealings to succeed.

2. People skills

In the nature of the work, you will frequently be dealing with clients who are in emotional turmoil. They may be upset at the behavior of a deceiving spouse, or angry at an employee who has betrayed their trust. You will need to deal with them tactfully and sympathetically (while always bearing in mind that there are two sides to every sob story).

Equally, the people you are asked to trace or investigate are unlikely to welcome your involvement. You will need to be the kind of person who can stay cool under pressure, 'think on your feet', and to be sensitive to the changing dynamics of a tense situation. You will need to be confident, assertive, and able to communicate well -- over the phone, in writing, and in person.

3. Patience and persistence

Contrary to the impression sometimes given by movies and TV shows, the life of a PI is not always exciting and glamorous. The best investigators actually have a calm, patient and methodical approach.

Many real-life investigators spend much of their working life doing surveillance in bars and restaurants or from the back of a car. The rest of their time is spent in the office interviewing clients and writing reports, or simply driving around from one appointment to another. The job can have its exciting moments, certainly, but overall being a PI is not an occupation for adrenalin junkies.

Investigators also need to be persistent. Sometimes an eight-hour overnight surveillance will produce no results. At this point the amateur simply gives up. The professional PI shrugs his shoulders and tries again the following night, or comes up with a different approach. The ability to 'think outside the box' can come in very handy here.

4. A willingness to learn the skills required

In many respects, private investigation is not something you can learn from a manual. It is not -- I imagine -- like learning to be a tax inspector, where everything you do is set down in some big book of procedures. In private investigation every case is different, and you will constantly need to apply your initiative and imagination. That, of course, is what makes this profession so endlessly fascinating and challenging.

Nevertheless, there are -- of course -- procedures to learn and guidelines to follow. If you hope to become a private investigator, it is therefore important to undertake training to prepare yourself. This applies even if you have previously worked in a related field, e.g. the police or private security industry. A good training course should prepare you for any of the huge range of tasks you may be called upon to perform as a professional private investigator. It will also give you the legal knowledge necessary for anyone working in this field.
About the Author
Mark Gustaffson is the author of the Professional Private Investigator Course from Maple Academy (UK), a leading correspondence course in this field. For more information, see the Maple Academy website at http://www.mapleacademy.com.
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 144
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories