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Tips for Starting a Career in the Homeland Security Field

Tips for Starting a Career in the Homeland Security Field

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Get more information about a Homeland Security degree at American Military University.

By Kimberly Smith, M.B.A., Career Coach, APUS and  Dr. Kelli Frakes, Program Director, Homeland Security, American Military University

Careers in Homeland Security are glamorized on dramatic television shows and featured in action-packed movies. We all know reality is far different from the portrayals of the field in entertainment, so how do you really know if a career in Homeland Security is right for you?

Are you interested in an exciting and meaningful career in an ever-changing industry?

The Department of Homeland Security involves 22 departments and agencies and includes over 240,000 personnel. Opportunities exist in law enforcement, immigration and travel monitoring, emergency management, emergency response, intelligence and other areas attributed to mission support.

Outside of the federal government, roles exist within local and regional governments, infrastructure systems, public facilities and corporations. If you consider the possibilities, chances are there is a great fit for you within the industry of Homeland Security.

Once you have a career in Homeland Security in your sights, here are a few tips to keep in mind from an industry professional, Dr. Kelli Frakes, APUS Program Director, Homeland Security:

Be cognizant of what you post online, particularly on social media sites.

Remember, even the most intense privacy settings are not enough to shield social media photos and posts from being revealed someday. Use discretion when sharing your thoughts and activities for the world to see, and contemplate changing your posting settings to allow for reflection time before a post is live on your page.

Critically examine information you read, as there is a significant amount of misinformation online.

Research the credibility of a news source before you take every article produced as a true recounting of events. Look for a history of retractions and corrections, and pay attention to patterns of reporting that may display a bias or hidden agenda. If you question a story, review multiple sources to gain a more well-rounded perspective.

Amass writing samples to share with potential employers.

According to Dr. Frakes, Homeland Security employers at a recent industry advisory council reported they are seeking candidates with the ability to write in a “detailed, yet succinct” manner. In addition to the practice provided by assignments in your courses, write articles about topics in the industry that spark your passion.

Choose your best pieces, and share them on your Portfolium profile for peers and potential employers to see. You may even wish to submit your work for consideration to be posted to the university’s InHomelandSecurity blog.

If this information has piqued your curiosity about the possibilities of a career in Homeland Security, I encourage you to continue researching the field and reach out to a Career Coach for guidance and support in aligning your career goals with the industry.

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