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Correctional Officer Resume [Job Description, Duties, 20+ Tips]

Correctional Officer Resume [Job Description, Duties, 20+ Tips]

You’re not Conan or Rambo. You’re a respectful, disciplined officer with excellent communication skills and a calm demeanor. Prove it with a Fed-ready correctional officer resume.

Your correctional officer resume has an Attica-sized job to do. Between background checks and a 7% job shrinkage in the next 10 years, getting hired at a correctional facility is like escaping from a Supermax. Why? Because the other applicants all want that legendary job stability and high pay too.

 

That means they’re making the best corrections officer resumes they can. The good news? If you focus like a surveillance camera on the right achievements and skills, you’ll put a searchlight on your application.

 

Let’s get you hired.

 

You’re about to see a correctional officer resume example you can change to fit any corrections officer position. You’ll also get simple steps to write a resume for correctional officer jobs that’ll land 10x more interviews than any other.

 

Here’s a resume for correctional officers made with our online builder:

 

Want to save time and have your resume ready in 5 minutes? Try our resume builder. It’s fast and easy to use. Plus, you’ll get ready-made content to add with one click. See 20+ resume templates and create your resume here.

 

corrections officer resume templates

Sample corrections officer resume—See more templates and create your resume here.

 

Don’t need a corrections officer resume? See these guides:

 

Sample Correctional Officer Resume (Text Version)

 

Tom Iyarri

Correctional Officer

914-681-0108

tarynziyarri@gmail.com

linkedin.com/in/tarynziyarri

twitter.com/tarynziyarri

 

Professional corrections officer with 7 years of experience in inspections and conflict resolution. Seeking to help Thornberg Correctional Facility lower addiction and increase officer safety. At Houghton CF, detected an illicit traffic pipeline used to transmit contraband into the facility.

 

Experience

 

Correctional Officer

Houghton Correctional Facility

May 2016 to Present

Key Qualifications & Responsibilities

  • Monitor 250 inmates during movement, in the dining hall and yard. Provide job training to inmates contributing to 28% reduction in recidivism.
  • Document daily behaviors for 50+ inmates.
  • Supervise inmate activities in controlled settings such as work sites, thus avoiding potential danger in 7 high-traffic areas.
  • Moderate arguments. Intervene in and resolve conflicts.
  • Conduct searches for contraband thereby reducing injuries by 12%.

Key Achievement:

  • Detected traffic pipeline responsible for the transmission of daily contraband into facility. Traffic was discontinued.

 

Correctional Officer

HiLeah Maximum Security Prison

May 2013 to Dec 2016

  • Enforced institutional policies which reduced infractions by 10%.
  • Patrolled 12 designated areas and conducted random security checks.
  • Escorted visitors and verified IDs, ensuring 100% compliance.
  • Trained and certified 80 inmates as welding technicians.

 

Undercover Security Guard

Boston Loss Management

June 2011 to Dec 2013

  • Observed shopping activity resulting in 32 apprehensions.
  • Monitored security cameras resulting in a 10% client theft reduction.
  • Detained 20+ shoplifters until law enforcement arrived on scene.

 

Education

 

Associate Degree in Criminology

Phoenix University

2007–2011

  • Assistant editor of student magazine
  • Member, Speech Team

 

Skills

 

  • Conflict Resolution
  • Monitoring Systems
  • Inspection
  • Training
  • Communications
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Self-Discipline

 

Powerlifter

 

  • Received 5th place out of 500 in state competition.
  • Train and work out daily for participation in two annual meets.

 

Professional Association Memberships

 

  • Member, ACA
  • District Volunteer, Boy Scouts of America

 

Here’s how to write a correctional officer resume step-by-step.

 

1. Start With the Right Format for a Correctional Officer Resume

 

Your corrections uniform shows at a glance that you’re a guard and not a prisoner. Your corrections officer resume has to work the same magic with its formatting. Except—it has to show you’re hirable and not a dud. How? By lining up the right elements in an easy-to-read way that shows professionalism.

 

So—

 

Here’s how to format a correctional officer resume template:

  • Font size: 11–12 points.
  • Resume headings: 13–14 points.
  • White space: Leave a little between each section.
  • Resume margins: one inch all on all four edges.
  • File type: send a PDF resume unless the job posting says otherwise.

 

Include these parts of a resume:

  • Header: put your contact information up top.
  • Summary: break down the highlights of your career history.
  • Experience: add your top correctional officer successes.
  • Education: include relevant coursework and achievements.
  • Skills: target the ones in the job listing.
  • Other sections: if you’re in the ACA or you volunteer for the Boy Scouts, add it!

There are two other resume formats you could use. See our guide: How to Pick the Best Resume Format

2. Add Experience to Your Correctional Officer Resume

 

Experience is the best way to get a corrections officer job. But you’re not guaranteed a spot in the lineup just because you’ve got it. Your correctional officer resume has to list it the right way. So—use a mix of resume action words, achievement, and numbers in the right order.

 

To tailor a resume:

  • Put your newest job title first.
  • Add the prison or facility name and your working dates.
  • Make a short correctional officer job description.
  • Create 3–6 bullet points.
  • Make fewer bullet points in older jobs and more in newer ones.
  • Use the PAR (Problem-Action-Result) formula to show successes.
  • Add numbers to beat the 7% corrections officer job slump.

 

See these correctional officer resume samples:

 

Correctional Officer Job Description for a Resume

 

Right

Experience

 

Correctional Officer

Houghton Correctional Facility

May 2016 to Present

Key Qualifications & Responsibilities

  • Monitor 250 inmates during movement, in the dining hall and yard. Provide job training to inmates contributing to 28% reduction in recidivism.
  • Document daily behaviors for 50+ inmates.
  • Supervise inmate activities in controlled settings such as work sites, thus avoiding potential danger in 7 high-traffic areas.
  • Moderate arguments. Intervene in and resolve conflicts.
  • Conduct searches for contraband thereby reducing injuries by 12%.

Key Achievement:

  • Detected traffic pipeline responsible for the transmission of daily contraband into facility. Traffic was discontinued.
Wrong

Correctional Officer

Houghton Correctional Facility

  • Write out critical incidents and make pertinent recommendations.
  • Responsible for inmate activities in controlled settings such as work areas.
  • Make sure arguments, fights, and other deviant behaviors are handled properly.
  • Dispose of contraband in a new, more efficient way.

 

Astounding. The first of those is like a newly dry-cleaned Blauer uniform. The warden or HR manager will read it and think, “I should hire this one before she gets away.” But the second? Denied parole.

 

A correctional officer resume with no experience has to pull off the same trick. But—how can you show experience if you haven’t got it? By pointing to unrelated jobs with transferable skills. If you were a security guard or even a retail supervisor, you can show skills correctional facilities respect.

 

See these entry-level correctional officer resume examples:

 

Entry-Level Correctional Officer Resume Samples [Experience]

 

Right

Undercover Security Guard

Boston Loss Management

June 2011 to Dec 2013

  • Observed shopping activity, resulting in 32 apprehensions.
  • Monitored security cameras, resulting in a 10% theft reduction.
  • Detained 20+ shoplifters until law enforcement arrived on scene.
Wrong
  • Handled communication with retail workers and customers.
  • Responsible for ensuring customer service in times of need.
  • Tasked with interacting with shoppers daily.

 

Wow. Someone’s hired and someone is on furlough. Why shouldn’t you do it like example #2? Because being “responsible for” something might mean you dropped the ball. But in example #1, you showed you’re as solid as Cook County Jail.

Pro Tip: Should you put references on a resume? Nope. But if you have to—like if the facility demanded it—list the reference’s name, title, company, and address.

When making a resume in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check. Start building your resume here.

When you’re done, Zety’s resume builder will score your resume and tell you exactly how to make it better.

Adding a “key achievement” can get you hired. See our guide: How to Show Experience on a Resume

 

3. Make Your Education Section Count

 

A psychology degree would really help your correctional officer resume. But even if you don’t have one, you’ve got to show you went to school. Do it the right way, and it can good-time your job search. So—add some Orange-County-level school accomplishments to prove you know an inmate from an IPD.

 

See these correctional officer resume examples:

 

Correctional Officer Resume Example [Education]

 

Right

Education

 

Associate Degree in Criminology

Phoenix University

2007–2011

  • Assistant editor of student magazine.
  • Member, Speech Team.

 

See that? A degree on a resume looks so much better when you weren’t just playing beer pong.

Pro Tip: If you’re taking classes in conflict resolution or inspection, don’t be afraid to brag. Continuing education on a resume shows a commitment to improve.

Should you spell out your degree or abbreviate it? See our guide: Minor and Major on a Resume

 

4. Put the Right Skills in Your Correctional Officer Resume

 

This next part is everything. It’s almost the only thing that matters in a corrections officer resume. Ready? Don’t list every skill you have. That’s a good way to look like you don’t have any. The real trick is to learn what skills the facility is jonesing for. Then prove—don’t list.

 

Start with these skills for correctional officer resumes:

 

Correctional Officer Resume Skills (Hard Skills)

 

  • Conflict Resolution
  • Monitoring Systems
  • Inspection
  • Patrolling
  • ID Verification
  • Training
  • Rules Enforcement
  • Maintaining Order
  • Discipline
  • Solving Disputes
  • Safety Policy Knowledge
  • Self Defense

 

Correctional Officer Skills (Soft Skills)

 

 

But—

 

Here’s how to pick the best correctional officer skills:

 

  1. Make a long list of all the correctional officer skills you have.
  2. Read the job posting. Make a second list of the skills it mentions.
  3. Create a third list of the skills that show up in both lists. Those are the optimal resume keywords.
  4. From list #3, choose a mix of soft skills and hard skills.
  5. With achievements in your bullet points, prove you own those skills.

 

See this correctional officer resume example:

 

Pretend the company wants policy enforcement, patrolling, and inmate training.

 

Correctional Officer Resume Examples [Skills]

 

Right
  • Enforced institutional policies which reduced infractions by 10%.
  • Patrolled 12 designated areas and conducted random security checks.
  • Escorted visitors and verified IDs, ensuring 100% compliance.
  • Trained and certified 80 inmates as welding technicians.

 

Guess who’ll be on the payroll soon? When you put correctional officer duties on a resume like that, employers notice. The key? Start each sentence with a resume power word. Then add numbers. Numbers make it solid!

Pro Tip: Did you work for yourself? To list self employment on a resume, find transferable skills in your work history like leadership or problem solving.

How many employers want to see adaptability in a correctional officer resume? See our guide: +30 Best Examples of What Skills to Put on a Resume. 

 

Need to know the specifics between hard skills vs soft skills? See our guide: Hard Skills vs Soft Skills: List of Best Examples for the Workplace.

 

 

5. Add Other Sections to Your Correctional Officer Resume

 

Here’s another massive tip. The prison has to know what you’re like. Will you crack under pressure? Walk in all cocksure and make every inmate want to pinch you? You’ve got to stretch your resume beyond experience and education to prove competence. Add non-work resume achievements to make it happen.

 

Choose from:

 

  1. Resume Licenses & Certifications

 

Certifications are vital in a correctional officer resume. Don’t confuse them with online courses, but if you’ve got ‘em, list ‘em, especially if you’re entry-level. Here are some to think about:

 

  1. Professional Associations

 

Are you in the ACA or ACHP? Those can show you’re the kind of person who can go behind those walls each day. That goes double if you volunteer or mentor other officers.

 

  1. Languages on a Resume

 

What language do the inmates speak? If you speak their language, that can be the little detail that leads to a big job offer.

 

  1. Conferences

 

Maybe you went to ICPA or the AJA Conference a couple years ago. Think that doesn’t belong on your resume? It can show you’re excited about your career and not just doing time.

 

  1. Resume Volunteer Work

 

Can you put food drives and volunteer hospital work on a resume? Absolutely. It proves you don’t just watch MMA in your free time.

 

See these correctional officer resume samples:

 

Correctional Officer Resume Examples [Other Sections]

 

Right

Powerlifter

  • Received 5th place out of 500 in state competition.
  • Train and work out daily for participation in two annual meets.

 

Professional Associations

  • Member, ACA.
  • District Volunteer, Boy Scouts of America.
Wrong
  • Powerlifting
  • Golf

Pro Tip: Make your resume ATS friendly to get more job offers. Use an ATS-compliant template. Then, label your sections in a way the tracking software understands.

Writing a federal correctional officer resume? See our guide: Federal Resume Template & Format

 

6. Write a Correctional Officer Resume Objective or Resume Summary

 

Warning—the warden has a pile of resumes up to the vandal-resistent lights. He doesn’t want to hunt for your skills like a Federal Marshal after an escape. Help him by corralling them all in a career profile—called a resume objective or resume summary. It goes at the top of your correctional officer resume.

 

Here’s how to write a career summary:

 

  1. Start with an adjective like calm or observant.
  2. Add your job title (correctional officer).
  3. List years of experience (7, 4, 1+)
  4. Share your job goal (help increase officer safety).
  5. Add the prison’s name.
  6. Include correctional officer achievements (detected illicit traffic).

 

These career summary examples show how:

 

Correctional Officer Resume Summary

 

Right

Professional corrections officer with 7 years of experience in inspections and conflict resolution. Seeking to help Thornberg Correctional Facility lower addiction and increase officer safety. At Houghton CF, detected an illicit traffic pipeline used to transmit contraband into the facility.

Wrong

Professional correctional officer experienced in maintaining order in a large prison facility. Seeking to use my extensive educational background and superior expertise in prison management to help my future employer excel in its corrections operations. 

 

At a glance, those look the same. But look closer. The first of those corrections officer resume samples has it all. It’s got experience, skills, a goal that helps the prison, and a big corrections achievement. The second? It’s an empty cell.

 

Create a career objective if you’re writing a correctional officer resume with no experience. Worried you can’t show Dallas-County-ready achievements? You can—from the academy, from on-the-job training, and from non-corrections jobs. Maybe your instructor gave you a nice kudo, or you used teamwork skills in a restaurant job.

 

See these examples:

 

Entry-Level Correctional Officer Resume Objective

 

Right

Observant correctional officer skilled in monitoring and conflict resolution. Seeking to provide expert inmate processing at HiLeah Maximum Security Prison. As undercover security guard for Boston Loss Management, monitored security cameras, leading to 10% client theft reduction.

Wrong

Entry-level correctional officer, seeking a good job in a federal prison. Haven’t held a job as a corrections officer yet, but have completed training at the academy. Am skilled in conflict resolution and monitoring security camera systems. A hard worker.

 

Ouch. That second one says, “I’m a corrections officer,” but gives no proof. Meanwhile, the first example has a nice achievement from a non-corrections job.

Pro Tip: If you can’t think of great achievements for your correctional officer resume, don’t make them up. Lying on a resume will get you blacklisted, and they will catch you.

Don’t have experience? See our guide: First Resume with No Work Experience

 

7. What About a Correctional Officer Cover Letter?

 

Ugh. Not a cover letter. Who wants to write a salesy letter for a correctional officer resume? Well, you need a cover letter to show you’re not some robot who doesn’t care about the job. Your cover letter has to show you understand the prison’s needs, and that you’ve got the right accomplishments to fill them.

 

To write your cover letter:

 

  1. Format your cover letter first.
  2. Start your correctional officer cover letter with the hiring officer’s name.
  3. Write a captivating first cover letter sentence.
  4. Use the middle to show you know a key clip from a Taser. That’s as simple as saying, “I know you need someone who can maintain discipline and order with respect.”
  5. To end your cover letter, offer to help the prison in some way.

Pro Tip: Writer’s block is real. How do you start a cover letter? With your biggest achievement or by dropping a name or showing passion for the work.

Should you use Ms. or Miss or Mrs.? See our guide: Cover Letter Salutation

 

Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here. Here's what it may look like:

 

matching set of resume and cover letter

See more cover letter templates and start writing.

 

Key Takeaway

 

Here’s a recap of how to write a correctional officer resume:

  • Format your correctional officer resume template in reverse-chronological order.
  • Find correctional officer skills in the job listing on the web.
  • Write your work history section first. Handcuff it to the role with achievements.
  • Use the PAR formula to show you’re Curran-Fromhold-ready.
  • Do the same thing with your education section.
  • Add other resume sections to show off an ACA membership or fitness activities.
  • Write a correctional officer cover letter to boost your interview chances.

 

That’s it! Now, we’d love to hear from you: 

  • What’s hardest about writing your corrections officer resume? 
  • Does thinking up achievements frustrate you?
  • Does your cover letter look weak?

 

Let’s chat below in the comments, and thanks for reading!

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Tom Gerencer, CPRW
Tom Gerencer, a Certified Professional Résumé Writer (CPRW), is a career expert who has published over 200 in-depth articles on Zety. Since 2016, he has been sharing advice on all things recruitment from writing winning resumes and cover letters to getting a promotion.
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