A career as a private investigator can sound rather fun. It can bring up images from story books of someone doing good and solving crime. However, the reality could be a long way from this image. However, you will need to be investigating things and finding evidence but you may not find that everything turns out how you would like it to.
There are no qualification for this role but experience could be useful. If you have worked in a job before where you were making investigations, perhaps in the police, local authority or armed forces this would give you some of the relevant experience and skills. Many private investigators are self-employed and so knowing a bit about how to run a business as well as knowledge or accounting. Marketing and the law will be very useful and something that it will be essential to learn. It is likely that you will need to drive and so having a full driving license would usually be required. You will also need to be literate so that you can write reports and briefs that will often be required as part of the job.
You will need to be good at communicating both when speaking and writing. It will be extremely important to have good observational skills as well as analytical skills. You may be required to present information in court and so you will need to be self-confident to be able to do this with ease. You will need IT skills as you will be typing up your reports but you may also need to use a computer to analyse data. You will also need to be able to empathise with clients who may be upset about what you have found out.
The job role
The types of things that you will be asked to do could vary. You may be dealing with personal issues perhaps divorce cases, company issues such as suspicion of theft or many other things. Background research will need to be done and this could mean that people will need to questioned and the information gathered will need to be analysed.
On a daily basis there will be a selection of different possibilities as to what you might be expected to do. You may need to monitor people. Investigate fraud, trace missing pets and people, serve legal documents to people, investigate commercial piracy and do background checks on employees.
The salary that you receive will vary massively. It will depend on whether you are working for a company or self employed. It will also depend on the types of cases that you take on and how long they take to investigate. The working hours for the job can be quite varies as well. You may work in an office or at home but will spend tie travelling and gathering information as well and this could happen at nights or weekends as well as during the day. You could get higher pay if you are promoted to a team leader or senior position or if you set up an agency and have other investigators working for you.