Writing a successful resume for a criminal justice position can be a daunting task. Many employers have specific expectations when reviewing resumes, and it’s crucial to make sure yours stands out in all the right ways. From perfecting your skills section to tailoring your layout, there are a variety of steps to take when crafting an impressive resume. Whether you are changing jobs or transitioning into the criminal justice field, the following guide will provide valuable tips in structuring your resume to get noticed.
1. Perfect Your Summary Statement
Create a Compelling Summary
Start strong with a compelling summary statement and provide a snapshot of your key credentials, such as education, experience, and skills. You only have about 6-7 seconds for a recruiter to read your resume so it’s important to make a good, lasting impression. Consider phrases such as “Seasoned Professional” or “Expert Problem Solver” to entice the recruiter to read on, and don’t forget to make sure your statement is tailored to the criminal justice field you are pursuing.
Focus On Relevant Information
Your summary statement should include relevant and useful information particular to the criminal justice sector that will allow you to stand out among other applicants. Although it is important to also include your experience and interests, focus primarily on your skills, experience and any certifications you possess that are crucial for the criminal justice field.
Although summary statements may seem like the ideal place to get creative and use impressive-sounding words, avoid using buzzwords or phrases like “Dynamic Leader” or “Outstanding Team Player” that employers have heard a million times. Rather, you should showcase your experience, certifications, and transferable skills with facts and statistics.
2. Keyword Optimization
Research the Position
Before creating your resume, research the position you are applying for and create a list of the keywords employers are most likely looking for when selecting candidates. To do this efficiently, visit the company’s website and corporate job postings and make a list of any keywords that appear on the website or in job descriptions. With this information, you can tailor your resume to include the relevant and important keywords employers are looking for.
Once you have your list of keywords, make sure to integrate those keywords into your resume. To avoid going overboard and appearing spammy, try to organically use keywords wherever it fits in your writing. For example, if you were applying for a criminal justice position as an administrative assistant, you would want to include words like “durable records management system”, “maintaining confidential records”, and “reporting processes”.
When citing your qualifications, avoid being too generic in your descriptions. Instead, make sure to use precise and precise language when mentioning your work history, experience, and certifications. Always include facts and figures so that your capabilities and qualifications can easily be verified.
3. Formatting Matters
Choose an Easy-to-Read Font
When choosing a font, It is important to choose one that is easy to read and adequately displays your qualifications. Try to choose a classic font like Arial or Times New Roman, and avoid font styles that are too flashy or overly decorative. Additionally, make sure to use the same font throughout your resume and keep the size between 10-12-point size.
Highlight Relevant Information
When using bold text or italicizing, use these features to highlight important information such as job titles, dates, and any certifications relevant to the criminal justice field. This will help employers to easily identify and process the information included in your resume.
Keep it Consistent
It is important to keep the formatting throughout the entire resume consistent,for example, by using the same font and size throughout all sections of the resume. This will enable the employer to recognize your qualifications easily and quickly. Additionally, use bullets and numbering to outline your job experience and skills. This format creates a neat, professional look and it will make your qualifications easier to review and process.
4. Tailor Your Work Experience
Describe Your Tasks and Responsibilities
When describing your work experience and job duties, be sure to include details that highlight your accomplishments and contributions to your previous work. Describing your tasks and responsibilities in detail will allow employers to visualize your work and understand how you might contribute to the criminal justice position you are applying for.
Include Statistics and Results
To set yourself apart from other applicants, it is important to provide examples that showcase your skills and contributions. Include facts, figures, and statistics that demonstrate how your work helped your previous companies be successful. For example, you can say ” increased team productivity by 20% through implementing a better system” or “maintained accurate records for 7 years with an error rate of 0”.
When adding job experience to your resume, try to only include positions that are relevant to the criminal justice sector. Although some experiences may be useful, in some cases they might not be necessary and they can clutter up your resume. Be selective with your work experience and focus on including the most relevant experiences first.
5. Focus On Your Skills
Think Like An Employer
When selecting skills to include on your resume, consider the needs of the employer and the qualities they value in select candidates. When listing any experiences or skills, make sure to include those that are specific to the criminal justice field such as competency in firearms, knowledge of legal systems, and understanding of criminal investigations. Additionally, highlight any certifications you possess relevant to the job you are applying for.
Include Transferable Skills
In addition to skills specific to the criminal justice field, employers may also to find other transferable skills useful. Demonstrate your transferable skills such as problem-solving, organization, communication and research skills by providing specific examples that highlight your abilities.
Quantify Your Skills
When it comes to quantifying your skills, make sure to include facts and figures that explain the level of your skills.For example, you can mention that you “administered confidential records for 3 years” or “assisted in writing 2 police reports per month” . Additionally, include specifics like percentages and dollar amounts to show the impact you have had in your previous positions.
6. Utilize Action Verbs
Choose Your Words Wisely
In order to create a powerful resume, use strong and descriptive action verbs to illustrate your experience and accomplishments. Using strong action verbs such as “created”, “coordinated”, “managed”, “oversaw” and “led” effectively describe the tasks and responsibilities associated with your previous work and make your resume more appealing to employers.
Vary Your Word Choices
When writing your resume and list of qualifications, it is important to use a variety of action verbs to showcase your capabilities. Writing with a combination of words can help your resume stand out among other applicants. For example,Instead of using the same verb “assisted” throughout your resume, think of other words such as “guided”, “mentored”, or “instructed” to help you stand out.
It is important to be specific when using action verbs to create a successful resume. You should choose words that accurately describe your contribution and experience. Additionally, avoid using generic action verbs such as “worked” and “participated” and think of words that are more specific to the criminal justice field.
7. Tailor Your Education
When listing your educational qualifications, make sure to include the name of your most recent school as well as any majors and minors you completed that are relevant to the job you are applying for. Additionally, include any relevant institutions and certifications you have obtained.
Highlight Relevant Coursework
To stand out to potential employers, consider highlighting the coursework you have taken that are specific to the criminal justice field. This can be a great way to demonstrate your knowledge and interest in the position. Make sure to cite courses such as criminal procedure, criminal law, forensics, and evidence collection, as well as any other courses relevant to the criminal justice sector.
Add Awards & Accolades
If you have any awards or accolades from your school, be sure to include these on your resume. This can help employers to understand the level of your knowledge, skill and commitment to criminal justice. Additionally, include any extracurricular activities or sports related activities that demonstrate your team-building skills and dedication.
8. Include Relevant Certifications
If you have any certifications or designations that are specific to the criminal justice field, make sure to list them on your resume to strengthen your credibility. This can include anything from police officer certification to forensic education certification.
In addition to certifications, outline any extra training and courses that you have taken that demonstrate your interest in the field of criminal justice. Courses such as self-defense training or Women’s self-defense classes can help to demonstrate your commitment in a tangible form.
Include Lasting Organizations
If you are a part of any relevant organizations or charities, make sure to list them on your resume. This can help make you stand out from other applicants and show employers how dedicated you are to the criminal justice profession.
9. Final Check
Customize For each Position
Before you submit your resume, make sure that it is specifically tailored for the interview and position you are applying for. As much as possible, try to tailor every resume you send out to match the job qualifications and requirements. This can help you stand out among other applicants as well as demonstrate your commitment to the position you are applying for.
Look For Mistakes
Lastly, make sure to read through your resume and look for any typos and grammatical mistakes that can weaken your resume. Additionally, make sure to double check all the facts and figures to ensure accuracy.
Reach Out To Professionals
You can also ask a recruiter or experienced professional for feedback on your resume. Feedback can help you to find areas of weakness or strength, allowing you to adjust your resume further and make the necessary changes to improve your chances of landing the job.
In conclusion, writing an impressive resume for a criminal justice position can be a challenge. With the necessary research, understanding of keyword optimization, formatting, and attention to detail, you can create an impressive resume that will showcase your skills and qualifications in the best light. Following these tips can help to increase your chance of being hired.