In the charged social climate of today, it is more imperative than ever that our police force expresses compassion and understanding towards communities.

As a police officer, it is your responsibility to uphold the law in a way that both values human life and respects diversity – to perform your assigned duties in an unbiased manner that discerns no difference between the people you serve, regardless of race or gender.

So if you’re up to the challenge, how do you begin or continue your career as a police officer?

It all starts with writing a great resume!

We’re going to help you achieve this through offering tips and guidelines that will provide you with the equipment needed to get the job done.

So how to start?

You’ll need to get acquainted with the basics of good resume writing.

Summary

  1. Resume Template
  2. Formatting
  3. Writing Your Resume Summary
  4. Areas of Expertise
  5. Writing Your Work Experience
  6. Writing Your Education Section
  7. Additional Sections
  8. Resume Points to Remember
  9. Resume “Don’ts” to Remember
  10. Some Helpful Tools

Let’s begin with a sample police officer resume to demonstrate how all the resume pieces fit together. Then we will break each section down to really drill into how to write the best police officer resume you possibly can.

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Police Officer Resume (Text Version)

Contact Info:

Zack Nicholson
ZNicholson@email.com
(404) 326-4907
Atlanta, GA 30311
linkedin.com/znichols

Summary Statement:

Police Officer: Compassionate, dedicated and solution-focused police officer. Responds promptly to emergencies and provides a calm presence in stressful situations. Creates trust with community members while promoting safety among diverse communities. Adapts quickly to change and offers effective solutions to complicated issues.

Key Accomplishments/Areas of Expertise

  • Public Safety
  • Effective Communication
  • Self-Defense Techniques
  • Critical Thinking
  • Emergency Response
  • Teamwork
  • Police-Community Relations

Professional Experience:

Atlanta Police Department| Atlanta, GA
Police Officer | May 2016 – Present

  • Responds to emergency situations involving a variety of issues while promoting public safety
  • Collects all pertinent information during crime scenes and reports incidents in a timely manner
  • Develops community relations with the public

Augusta Police Department | Augusta, GA
Police Officer | August 2014 – April 2016

  • Patrolled a number of neighborhoods to create a sense of safety and security
  • Collaborated with community stakeholders to assist with various court cases
  • Conducted interviews and investigations to gather important information regarding crime scenes

Clarke County| Atlanta, GA
School Resource Officer | January 2013 – August 2014

  • Worked with student support staff to increase safety and security for all students
  • Implemented school-wide programming that educated students on conflict resolution
  • Facilitated training for school and community stakeholders to expand awareness on school safety

Education

BACHELOR OF ARTS: CRIMINAL JUSTICE

University of Georgia, Athens, GA
December 2011

Training & Certifications:

GEORGIA POLICE ACADEMY

Law Enforcement, Criminal Investigations, Traffic Safety, Community Policing

Athens, GA
December 2012

CPR & FIRST-AID CERTIFIED

Formatting

Formatting is a central component to any resume because there is a certain way a resume should be presented in order to be effective.

There are standards to follow that will help your police officer resume get in the door.

In today’s competitive jobs market, proper formatting is more important than ever. Many companies now use software bots to scan resumes.

Bots look for certain keywords and relevant language.

Good formatting, in addition to proper language and keywords, will help the scannability of your police officer resume.

It will also cause a hiring manager to sit up and take special notice of your skills.

Typically, a hiring manager takes a mere 6 seconds to look over your resume – so it’s important that your resume achieves maximum readability.

Your resume should use a reverse chronological order layout. This will put your most recent professional accomplishments in the foreground for the reader to see.

Use good font selection, nothing fancy or hard to read. An odd font will work against you.

You also want your page to look balanced and orderly. This means making effective use of the white spaces on your resume.

Properly space and align your columns and bullet lists.

Your Summary

So what do you write first?

The most effective way to kick off a resume is to create a summary of your top skills and abilities.

This will help in making a good first impression.

Talk about what kind of police officer you are. Get specific about what makes you excel in your job.

A resume is all about demonstrating your value to the potential employer.
Your summary should be 2-3 sentences in length. That’s not much, but if you get your language right, it should be simple to cover your relevant skill set.

PRO TIP: Your summary should not be a personal introduction, but rather a curated breakdown of your abilities. Your summary should not be a statement of objective either, but a focused presentation of your value as a candidate.

To help you get your summary right, let’s take a look at some examples:

Yes!

Compassionate, dedicated and solution-focused police officer. Responds promptly to emergencies and provides a calm presence in stressful situations. Creates trust with community members while promoting safety among diverse communities. Adapts quickly to change and offers effective solutions to complicated issues.

No!

Good police officer. Responds well to emergencies and problems.Good at safety and solutions for the community. Looking for a position at a station with flexible hours, good pay, and benefits.

So what are the crucial differences here?

The first example demonstrates skills and abilities in a concise manner. We learn about the areas in which the candidate excels.

The language answers the central question of “what type of police officer are you?”

Power words, which convey action and ability, are used in the example to add strength to the overall language.

The second example is poor in that it doesn’t answer important questions about the candidate’s skill level and strengths.

Its language is too general and repetitive.

It also mixes a summary of skills with an objective, which is not what you want.

Keep your summary focused on conveying your skills and value as a candidate.

Expertise and Accomplishments

Since your skills are what set you apart from other candidates, it is a good idea to highlight them.

For this section you’ll need to compile a list of your Key Accomplishments, or Areas of Expertise.

Perhaps you have an experience point that few other applicants possess, so it’s important to get that onto your police officer resume!

Your skills should be listed with bullet points.

Example:

  • Public Safety
  • Effective Communication
  • Self-Defense Techniques
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Critical Thinking
  • Emergency Response
  • Teamwork
  • Police-Community Relations

See how the list is a combination or hard skills and soft skills?

Hard skills are skills related to police work – what you learned on the job or at the academy.

Soft skills are your personal attributes – qualities like critical thinking, decision making, or leadership skills.

Think it through and write both types of skills down in a balanced list.

Don’t leave out any important or relevant skills!

PRO TIP: As you draft your list, try and make your soft skills compliment your hard skills as much as possible. It will make for a greater impression on the reader and convey the idea that you’re balanced in your skill set.

(See below for a helpful table of some suggested hard and soft skill ideas to inspire you in writing your skills section.)

Work Experience

So what actual experience do you have as a police officer?

Have you worked at a station or as a patrolman?

This is the section where you get specific about your former positions and the roles you played within them.

So let’s get started drafting your work experience section!

Start with layout.

As stated above, reverse chronological order is the layout to go with – so for your work history, you’ll list your most recent position first.

This assures that the reader gains an immediate idea of what you’ve been doing with your skills lately.

Each entry for a former job position should include:

  • The company name
  • Where the company is located
  • What job you performed there

It is common also to include dates, the date you started in the position and the date you left it.

Some candidates choose to leave dates off their resumes.

Why?

Because sometimes you’re only employed for a short period or have significant gaps of time between jobs.

If this is you, it will certainly look better if there are no listed dates on your police officer resume to highlight the fact.

However, you will be asked about missing dates in an interview. A hiring manager will probably want to know all about periods of employment and time gaps. So be prepared with answers!

After writing down the basics of the position, use 3-5 bullet points to list the roles you performed on a day to day basis.

What were your responsibilities on the job?

Examples for reference:

Yes!

Atlanta Police Department | Atlanta, GA | Police Officer | May 2016 – Present

  • Responds to emergency situations involving a variety of issues while promoting public safety
  • Collects all pertinent information during crime scenes and reports incidents in a timely manner
  • Develops community relations with the public

No!

Police Department | Atlanta | May 2016

  • Emergencies when required
  • Looks at crime scene and collects stuff
  • Talked to the public when I had time

These examples highlight what you do and do not want in a work experience entry.

The first example is a good entry that demonstrates the candidate’s competence and skill level.

This is a confident applicant with nothing to hide.

Effective power words head each bullet point, further demonstrating initiative and ability.

The second example is too vague and poorly worded.

There is not enough detail about the candidate’s various roles to discern performance and expertise level.

It is a weak entry.

PRO TIP: Keep in mind that the idea for this section is to demonstrate how you’ve been progressing in your career over time. It should be obvious that your skill level and responsibilities have increased since the first job you held.

About Bots

We’ve mentioned bots before, but there is more to know about them.

They work via an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to evaluate resumes based on keyword and language usage.

Some systems are more particular than others.

If this worries you in your particular case, you can think about using an alternative formatting for your work experience.

Use a paragraph instead of a bullet list.

Bullet points:

Atlanta Police Department | Atlanta, GA | Police Officer | May 2016 – Present

  • Responds to emergency situations involving a variety of issues while promoting public safety
  • Collects all pertinent information during crime scenes and reports incidents in a timely manner
  • Develops community relations with the public

Paragraph format:

Responds to emergency situations involving a variety of issues while promoting public safety and well-being. Collects all pertinent information at crime scenes and reports incidents in a timely fashion.

It is also an option to use limited bullet points for special emphasis:

Responds to emergency situations involving a variety of issues while promoting public safety and well-being. Collects all pertinent information at crime scenes and reports incidents in a timely fashion.

  • Develops community relations with public
  • Received performance award for attention to public safety

An alternative paragraph format allows you to insert more keywords and really vary up your language, both of which can make your police officer resume more scannable for the bots.

However, a significant downside is that this will decrease reliability for a hiring manager.

After all, bullet points are much easier to read!

So be cautious and prudent in your formatting choices!

Education Section

For most of us, education has played a crucial role in our professional development.

What education do you have?

You will answer that question in this final section of your resume.

Start by listing your highest level of education.

Example: Master’s Degree, Bachelor’s Degree, High School Diploma, etc.

Now include details about the institution(s) you attended and your area(s) of study.

Don’t forget to include minor degrees and certifications as well.

Consider listing your GPA. This can help you if you’re just beginning your career. As you advance and gain more experience you can remove it from your resume.

Example:

BACHELOR OF ARTS: CRIMINAL JUSTICE

University of Georgia, Athens, GA
GPA: 3.6
December 2011

Perhaps you’ve grown your skillset since graduation.

Include those details as well.

Example:

  • “CPR and First Aid,” Certification
  • “Policing Today,” Conference, 2013

Additional Section

We are more than our chosen career path.

Perhaps you have an unrelated accomplishment or award under your belt that you think would increase your value as a candidate.

Feel free to create an additional resume section for listing such things!

Examples:

  • Awards and honors
  • Publications
  • Noteworthy Projects
  • Social Media Influence
  • Speaking Engagements
  • Hobbies/Interests
  • Volunteer Work

No Experience

It takes time to build experience.

If you are in a position of little relevant experience, consider altering a portion of your police officer resume.

This will help you emphasize other qualities of value.

Move your education details on the page so that they follow your summary. Since you lack experience, your education is going to be important in proving your value.

Your work experience section is the place to be strategic.

In listing what experience you have, try and order your bullet points so that they relate as closely as possible to the skills listed in the job description.

Even if you’ve never done police work per se, you probably have more skills than you realize, which can help you out.

For instance, perhaps you’ve held a job that required discipline and equipment maintenance?

How about organization, rule adherence, and long hours?

All of these skills will be valuable to you as a police officer. So list them in your work experience section!

Really consider your history and what past knowledge you can bring to bear for your new career path.

Remember

Always include your contact details!

Include an email address and phone number – whatever is relevant to your situation.

Remember that usage of your space is important. We’ve shown you how to do it. Start with a good summary, followed by experience points, a work history, and an education section.

Remember to use suitable power words! Power words will help you convey your initiative and ability. It’s all about language in your police officer resume. Strong power words make for strong, effective language.

Remember to recruit a proofreader once you’ve finished. They will catch mistakes you’ve missed. You want your resume looking polished!

“Don’ts”

Don’t use first person language

It will not help your resume be more “personal” or “warm”. It is considered unprofessional and will only harm your chances of landing the position.

Don’t go over one page

More words doesn’t equal more value. Your skills and experience should fit nicely onto a single page.

Don’t repeat yourself

Variation is the spice of life! So don’t make the mistake of using repetitive language in your resume. Good power words will help you in achieving variation.

(We’ve put together a handy table of power words below to use for inspiration.)

Don’t select a weird font or strange format

You want your resume to stand out in the right way. In the interest of readability and scannability, choose a sensible font and use our formatting guidelines.

Some Helpful Tools:

Police Officer Resume Power Words

  • Responds
  • Collects
  • Developed
  • Patrolled
  • Collaborated
  • Conducted
  • Worked
  • Implemented
  • Facilitated
  • Fulfilled

Police Officer Resume Skills List

Hard SkillsSoft Skills
Public SafetyTeam Work
Self-Defense TechniquesConflict Resolution
Emergency ResponseCritical Thinking
Police Community RelationsEffective Communication