Jacob Williams launches AfterTheBadgeJobs.com to help frontline workers find employment

Jacob Williams launched AfterTheBadgeJobs. The company aggregates employment opportunities tailored to first responders and former law enforcement employees.

Jacob Williams launched AfterTheBadgeJobs. The company aggregates employment opportunities tailored to first responders and former law enforcement employees. Courtesy Jacob Williams

When Jacob Williams was injured in the line of duty while working for the California Highway Patrol in 2016, he transitioned from the patrol car to an administrative position. In 2020, however, Williams transferred from Sacramento to Truckee and found himself back in the patrol car. An early retirement followed soon after.

“I had been able to prolong my cop life because of my assignment, but when I got back into a patrol car 12 to 14 hours a day, it went downhill fast due to my injury,” Williams told NNBW.

Forced retirement at the age of 42 wasn’t exactly the career path Williams had envisioned. However, as a highly-trained public servant, Williams was excited about new career possibilities — until he was faced with a paucity of jobs that dovetailed with his unique skill set. That experience led to the creation of AfterTheBadgeJobs.com, a Reno-based job hosting board dedicated to former law enforcement officers and first responders.

Williams initial job search was an eye-opening experience.

“After becoming unemployed, I did what most people do — I went online, brought up Indeed, and filled out my information,” Williams said. “I had more than a decade of service, incredible amounts of training, and an impeccable service history with multiple awards and accommodations from commissioners and governors. So I put all that information into Indeed.

“Everyone always told me that there are all these really cool jobs available after you are done being a cop, but the only job opportunities that came up were being a barista or a line cook,” he added. “That’s when things really got scary. I would have worked any job to support my family, but the site’s algorithm wasn’t recognizing my unique skill set and spitting out jobs that matched my talents.”

AfterTheBadgeJobs aggregates employment opportunities tailored to first responders and former law enforcement employees, Williams said. The site is set up like most job boards – employers are charged a fee to post jobs, while the service is free for job seekers.

“Veterans have a ton of online resources, nurses and journalists have their own job boards, but there’s nothing for first responders,” Williams said. “That’s really what led me to this path of trying to figure out how someone like me who has a really good job history as a public servant had so few job options.”

Reno-based serial entrepreneur Kevin Petersen helped Williams vet his proof of concept, form an LLC, and find developers to get the web site running. Peterson continues to provide business mentorship as AfterTheBadgeJobs grows, Williams said.

Jacob Williams


Initial challenges Williams has had to overcome include learning how to run and manage a business, and finding a development team to fine-tune the AfterTheBadgeJobs website. Williams purchased a defunct site at auction but struggled to find a local developer to rebrand the site and eventually had to ship that work overseas.

“That has pushed back on me this entire journey,” he said. “There’s language and time barriers, but we have made forward progress. We always envisioned being a Reno-based company because we are very proud of where we live and want AfterTheBadgeJobs to be solely based in Reno. I interviewed three local website developers, but none could commit to the project.”

AfterTheBadgeJobs already has attracted a modest pool of job candidates, leading Williams to help many fine-tune their approach to job seeking.

“It’s been great being able to interact with them. I never wanted to be a recruiter; I just wanted to provide a place for first responders to go to look for jobs. But with one candidate, his resume was six pages long. Hand-placing people and interacting with candidates has been fun because there are good stories with each of these people.”

Other issues, he noted, centered around “chicken or egg” conversations. Williams said about 150,000 first responders retire every year, and about 85 percent of them find second jobs. However, it’s difficult to attract job candidates without having a wealth of potential employment opportunities, and it’s difficult to get companies to pay for employment opportunities posted on AfterTheBadgeJobs without having a large pool of job candidates.

AfterTheBadgeJobs has partnered with Tesla and Renown to post jobs and prove the concept to those and other employers. Profitability can happen with one client, Williams said.

“It is about getting organizations to understand that although we are a typical job board, first responders and law enforcement officials are a different breed,” he said. “We showed up for work on time because we didn’t have a choice. We worked our full shifts because we didn’t have a choice. We never had the option for remote work, and we are really good about following instructions – we understand chain of command.

“We don’t want to be Indeed,” Williams added. “We don’t want everyone’s jobs. There are specific jobs out there that are a great fit for first responders, and those are the jobs we want because they are relevant jobs where first responders and law enforcement officials will thrive.”

Williams also has identified add-on features that could drive additional revenue on the job-seeker side, he noted. Former law enforcement officials and first responders often need help fine-tuning their resumes since there can be some disconnect when trying to position their skills for public-sector employment. Resume services and interview counseling could provide new ways to monetize AfterTheBadgeJobs, Williams said.

To date, the business has been entirely self-funded.

“One term I learned early on was ‘bootstrap,’” Williams said. “That describes us 100 percent.

“It’s going to catch on, it’s going to happen fast, and in a few years I'll look back on how fun it was during the initial years being able to be so involved with job candidates,” he added.


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