Resumes for Police Officers

In this article, we're going to explain an effective approach police officers can take when writing their resumes.  That discussion will include a brief overview of the profession, the three most common resume styles, example language, as well as a document that can be downloaded.

The law enforcement profession can include job titles such as police officers, sergeants, captains, lieutenants, detectives and chiefs of police among others.  It's a physically demanding job with educational requirements that can range from high school diplomas through college degrees.  Eligibility requirements can include age (21 years or older is typical), U.S. citizenship, attending some type of police academy, as well as passing an examination.

Resume Styles for Police Officers

The resume styles used by law enforcement officers will follow the same rules as other professions.  The data contained on the resume itself is aligned with the types of information found in other service sectors, including how it's organized on the document itself.

There are three resume formats currently in use today.  Each format has its own strengths and weaknesses.  It's important to understand these differences, because picking the wrong format could mean re-typing the entire document.

Chronological Resume

The chronological resume is the most popular of all the formats in use today.  That doesn't mean it's the best format, it's just a popular one.  The main feature of this resume is prior job titles and places of employment, with secondary consideration for skills and knowledge. The chronological resume is a good choice if someone has a lot of experience and wants to emphasize where they've worked in the past.

Functional Resume

The functional resume is a good choice for police cadets that are right out of the training academy, or for those officers without a lot of practical experience.  The main feature of this style is the individual's knowledge and skills, not where they've worked.  This format does not include a work history section.

Combination Resume

The combination resume is arguably the best format to use when trying to find a job.  That's because it provides the recruiter or hiring officer with the candidate's qualifications right up front.  The skills section is then followed by a reverse chronological account of work history.  As the name implies, this format contains the features of the first two styles.

Skills and Knowledge

When writing a resume, it's important to provide a comprehensive list of skills and knowledge, examples might include:

  • Supervising investigations involving criminal cases, while providing guidance to field investigators.
  • Handling of personal property and evidence, familiarity with chain of custody techniques.
  • Ensuring procedures are carried out in compliance with applicable laws.
  • Maintaining accurate logs, preparing reports, safeguarding departmental records.
  • Cooperating with court officials, providing expert testimony.
  • Training staff in standard operating procedures.
  • Managing and evaluating job performance of direct reports, communicating consequences of new laws and regulations.

Sample Resume

While a resume for a police officer is structured much like those of other professions, the brotherhood and / or sisterhood of officers oftentimes are involved with charitable or volunteer work too.  These off-the-job commitments and community service also have a place on the resume.

The following is a link to a downloadable Word document in the combination format: Police Officer Resume.

 About the Author - Resumes for Police Officers - Copyright © 2005 - 2016 (Last Reviewed on March 1, 2016)