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Author Topic: how do we get expiernence?  (Read 22800 times)

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  • Guest
how do we get expiernence?
« on: September 20, 2005, 11:04:30 AM »
I graduated with a BS in Forensic Science, this past May.  I have had interviews for Fellowships and Jobs.  It seems as though even if i answer all of the questions they throw at me correctly, I still end up recieving a letter saying sorry but you do not have enough experience.  Can anyone help me out?

Offline Brenda Lawrence

  • AFTE Member
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Re: how do we get expiernence?
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2005, 12:22:47 PM »
Probably the best way to get experience in order to get hired in a laboratory is to try and get in as a volunteer.  The problem right now is that because of the popularity of forensic science right now due to shows like "CSI", etc. it can be difficult to get into a lab simply because there are so many people who now want to try it.  You also may try to go for things like laboratory technician positions if they are available.  It might help you get your foot in the door and allow you to get familiar with the forensic lab setting and give you some practical experience.

Another thing you might want to consider is attending meetings of any of the forensic associations that you can get to.  I'm not sure what area of the country you are in, but check into the more local associations (Northwest Association of Forensic Scientists, California Association of Criminalists, etc.), the bigger associations such as American Academy of Forensic Sciences, and of course the associations for hatever particular area you are interested in, such as the Association of Firearms and Tool Mark Examiners for firearms.  Most associations hold one meeting a year, and some of them will have two meetings.  It's a great way to make some contacts and show that you have some serious interest in forensics.

You haven't mentioned whether you've done any volunteer work or not, but I know from experience in applying to vet school that hands on experience is a big deal.  You can have the best grades and know all the right answers, but if you are lacking the real life experience it can really cause problems.  Especially in such a competitive field.

That's just my two cents. 

Brenda Lawrence
WSP Crime Lab Tacoma
Brenda Walsh
Washington State Patrol Crime Lab
Tacoma, WA

Offline L. M. Kogler

  • AFTE Member
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  • Posts: 195
Re: how do we get expiernence?
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2005, 12:39:01 PM »
Well, it's a tough spot.  From what I have observed, most forensic employers will grab an applicant with some degree of work experience, which leaves those without that experience still looking for a job.  Ditto what Brenda said -- the fact that shows like CSI have made forensic science careers extremely popular means that competeition for even entry-level jobs is very, very stiff.

You haven't provided more details about what type of jobs you are applying for (crime scene tech vs lab job), so here are a few random recommendations:

1) Did you get around 30 hours of chemistry in with your BS degree?  If not, you will be at an extreme disadvantage for a laboratory job.  You may still do okay if you are looking to do crime scene work.  With so many applicants with forensic degrees now (including master's degrees), you really need to know what job you are applying for and how your knowledge and skills are going to fit that job.  If you need to take more classes to improve your skills or knowledge, do it.  The BS is only the start of a continual learning process, and in and of itself will not get you the job -- it may have been different several years ago, but not now.  Right now, employers really get to pick and choose from a pretty large pool of qualified applicants.

2) Something else to consider -- do you have some good references?  You don't need ho-hum recommendations at this point.

3) It's not always about answering the questions correctly, but also about being honest when you don't know something or if you don't quite remember.  Stay within the boundaries of what you know.  (I have seen interviewees totally make stuff up -- it's very embarassing!)

4) Again, ditto Brenda -- If you have the opportunity and the means, attend a regional organization's meeting or conference -- see the links on the AFTE website for more info on various associations.  National organization meetings (like AAFS) can be much more expensive, but go if you can (I think AAFS takes volunteers).  

Hope that helps, and good luck to you! :smiley:
L. M. Kogler


  • Guest
Re: how do we get expiernence?
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2006, 04:45:10 PM »
Did you do an internship before you graduated? It's a good way to get experience and it's like a 3 month-long job interview. Also like Lyn said, good references help.


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