This complete guide will show how to translate your military experience into civilian, and write a perfect resume. Use our samples and tips.
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There's a police officer shortage, so getting a job should be easy, right? But you don't want to get slotted into a lifetime of low-rank police work. After all, the job comes with certain dangers, and you want to be rewarded for that.
That’s why you need a police officer resume that will serve and protect you—just like you do on a daily basis.
This guide will show you:
- A police officer resume example better than 9 out of 10 other resumes.
- How to write a police officer resume that will land you more interviews.
- Tips and examples of how to put skills and achievements on a law enforcement resume.
- How to describe your experience on a resume for a police officer to get any job you want.
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.
Sample resume made with our builder—See more resume samples here.
Still not committed to the police career? Considering other options? See our dedicated guides:
- Firefighter Resume
- Legal/Law Resume
- Criminal Justice Resume
- Correctional Officer Resume
- Security Guard Resume
- Security Officer Resume
- Dispatcher Resume
- EMT/Paramedic Resume
- Peace Corps Resume
- Personal Trainer Resume
Need more examples? See:
Here's how to write a police officer resume:
Format Your Police Officer Resume the Right Way
Imagine a desk. It belongs to Sam, the head of the hiring board. Nice Robocop coffee mug.
Near it is a file crammed with 250+ police officer resumes.
Think he'll read them all? He won't.
He tosses out the sloppy ones with typos and poor formatting.
Stay out of his recycle bin.
Use a respected layout like the reverse-chronological format. It presents your last job first.
To make Sam stick around, use clear fonts like Arial or Cambria. Then, don't assault his eyes. Use big headings and strategic white space.
Last, save your work as a PDF. Police officer resume PDFs guard their formatting. MS Word resumes can jump bail in transit.
Pro Tip: PDFs are best, but be sure the job offer doesn't outlaw them. Some Applicant Tracking Systems blow the whistle on police resume PDFs.
Want to investigate other formats for a resume for police officers? See our guide: 3 Resume Formats: How to Choose the Best One [Examples]
Write a Police Officer Professional Summary or Resume Objective
Remember our hiring board director, Sam?
He won't read your resume. He'll skim it.
Give him a reason to hit the brakes. How?
With a crisp police officer resume objective or resume summary.
What's the difference?
A resume summary shows your Martin-Brody-grade experience.
Don't have that? Use a resume objective. It displays your passion for police work.
Let's start with two police resume summary examples.
Only one of the examples below will score a healthy police officer salary.
Police Officer Resume Summary Example
|Likable police sergeant and former Marine with 9+ years of experience on the force. Led a busy department of 22 officers, with 15% lower reported crimes in 3 years. Slashed response times by 20% through improved training. As a patrolman, resolved conflicts 25% better than the department average.|
|Police sergeant with 9 years of experience. Led a police department and performed all sergeant duties, including scheduling, guiding, giving police officer trainings, and organizing the department's activities.|
That first professional summary for a police officer resume could be James Bond seeking a new situation. The second? More like Chief Wiggum.
The difference is, the first resume added measurable details.
Now let's look what happens if you lack experience. Check out these two police resume examples.
How to Write an Entry-Level Police Officer Resume Objective that Stands Apart?
Most experts say a resume for a police officer with no experience should focus on skills.
That's true, but you can up the calibre.
Do it by showing police officer achievements you didn't know you had.
Spot the difference in these two objectives for law enforcement resumes.
Entry-Level Police Officer Resume Objective Example
|Energetic entry-level police officer, seeking position with a department. No on-the-job law enforcement experience yet, but I'm willing to work hard.|
|Mentally-tough former Marine and police cadet, with 4+ years of experience in leadership, weapons training, and interacting with the public. Recognized by the department for conflict resolution ability. Commended by academy professors for self-defense skills.|
That first new police officer resume objective is standard-issue. Juvenile.
The second arrests the hiring manager's attention with blistering details. I'll show you how next.
Pro Tip: "Be truthful on your police resume, or any law enforcement resume. We dive deep into backgrounds when checking out applicants." -Casey Dugas, Officer
When making a resume in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check. Start building a professional resume template here for free.
When you’re done, Zety’s resume builder will score your resume and tell you exactly how to make it better.
Need more resume tips? See the police officer resume template up top. Also, see these guides: How To Write A Resume Summary: 21 Best Examples You Will See and +20 Resume Objective Examples - Use Them on Your Resume (Tips)
Describe Your Police Officer Experience
You didn't get the job.
You can live with that. But. You learn it went to someone with less police experience.
That'll stick around as long as D.B. Cooper's legend.
Your police resume must prove you fit the job like a tailored flak jacket.
To do that, read the job description carefully.
Then write bullet points that prove you match it.
Not sure how that works? Surveil these two police sergeant resume examples.
Police Officer Resume Examples [Experience]
These two sample police resume experience sections show how to share your work history.
Waylon, MS Police Department
2011 - 2017
Who's that, John McClane? It works because the bullet points match the job description like they were picked out of a lineup.
Bullet points like that work especially well in a lateral police officer resume.
But cull the details, and look:
Waylon, MS Police Department
2011 - 2017
Maybe that officer could get a job on Reno 911!
Pro Tip: Always highlight your achievements and quantify your success. Otherwise, your experience section will read like a generic list of police officer duties copied from the posting’s job description. The chief knows what you did. He wants to know how well you did it!
Now, what if you're not writing police sergeant resumes? In fact, what if you don't have any law enforcement experience at all?
How to Write a Resume for a Police Officer with No Experience
Never been a police officer before? You may still have law enforcement experience.
Look for past jobs with police officer duties, skills, and responsibilities.
Any of the following look great on a police officer recruit resume with no experience:
Military Experience proves self-discipline, motivation, mental toughness, weapons training, and ethics. If you've got it, flaunt it on your police resume.
Police Cadet Experience (or special police experience). Cadets are like trainee police officers or interns. This looks great on a resume for police officers.
Non-Police Officer Work that Shows Police Qualities. List jobs or volunteer positions where you worked with the public or used law enforcement skills.
Sales experience or volunteering with seniors or children show valuable public interaction. Anything that shows self-discipline and work ethic belongs on officer and police detective resumes, too.
Check out these entry-level police officer resume samples with no experience:
Sample Police Officer Resume with No Experience
Jackson Police Department
US Marine Corps
2012 - 2016
2011 - 2012
Law Enforcement Experience: None yet, since I just recently graduated from the academy.
Do we need to explain the difference between those two police resume samples?
That first one could be Frank Columbo. The second is more like Frank Drebin from The Naked Gun.
Pro Tip: In a retired police officer resume, fill your bullet points with "wins" that fit the job opening. That could mean leadership or training achievements.
Boring language will get your police resume ignored. Spotlight it instead with action words. Get some here: +80 Examples of Resume Action Words for Every Profession
Mention Your Education
You just need to list your school name and degree, right?
That's dead wrong.
If you don't use your education to show why you fit the job like a firing pin, you're shooting blanks.
Start your police resume education section with:
- School Name and Location.
- Years in School.
But then add so much more.
Two Sample Police Officer Resume Education Sections
The first of our police officer resume examples is DOA.
Jackson Police Academy, 2017
BA in Criminal Justice, Mississippi State University
2005 - 2009
That basically says, "I went to school." It borders on felonious.
But check out this next sample police officer resume education section.
Jackson Police Academy
2017 Jan - May
BA in Criminal Justice, Mississippi State University
2005 - 2009
That police resume example adds achievements that turn heads like a S.W.A.T. truck.
Spotlight anything that shows you can handle police officer duties.
Did you stop with high school? Cite classes you excelled in, sports accomplishments, and extracurricular wins.
Pro Tip: Should you go for a full college degree? If you want to rise high, yes. Just want to be an officer? You'll get just as far with a 2-4 year head start on the force.
Need your resume for police work to get noticed like a Maglite? Use the law enforcement resume template up top. Also, see this guide: How to Put Your Education on a Resume [Tips & Examples]
Put Skills on a Resume for a Police Officer
Let's look back in on our hiring board director, Sam.
He holds the key to the police officer job of your dreams.
But he's rolling his eyes so hard he pulled a muscle. Why?
All the police resumes he reads have the same skills list. It's as long as a DUI report, but there's no proof.
You must prove your police officer resume skills like ABSCAM evidence.
Sample Police Officer Resume Skills Section
Check out these police officer resume examples. The first one is so typical.
|Law Enforcement Skills: Legal knowledge, weapons skills, CPR, MS Office, communication, physical fitness, interpersonal skills, kitchen sink investigations...|
Way to go, Kindergarten Cop. You've got every skill known to man. But you haven't proven one of them.
Now, what about this next example? Sure, it lists the typical police resume skills. But then it proves the most important in the bullet points, like this:
Bam. You just went from Farva to the cop who took down Bonnie and Clyde.
Need some skills to get you rolling? Use these:
List of Skills to Put on a Resume for a Police Officer
Here's a starter police officer skills list.
Find more in law enforcement job descriptions online.
Police Officer Resume Skills
CPR and First Aid
Take the steps above, and your police resume will stand out like the Capone conviction.
Pro Tip: A second language looks great on a resume for law enforcement. That's especially true if it's used widely in the community.
Want to write the best entry-level law enforcement resume you can? See our guide: +30 Best Examples of What Skills to Put on a Resume (Proven Tips)
Add Other Sections for an Effective Police Officer Resume
Your resume is out of uniform.
It's got education and experience.
But where's the personality? The passion?
If you stop with the basics, you'll get the basic law enforcement job, if any.
But add targeted "other" sections and you'll turn your police resume into a lethal weapon.
See how to do it right in these two sample police officer "other" sections.
Police Resume Examples [Other Sections]
Whoa. Don't tase me, bro.
What we need is examples that show passion and reliability.
Pow. That's the resume equivalent of a Glock 19.
Show anything that demonstrates public interaction, leadership, or any other police officer qualifications. Include awards and commendations too.
A POST certification isn't on the police officer requirements list in most states. If you have one, display it prominently in a certifications section like the one above.
Pro Tip: Need to bulk up a weak police officer resume? Consider doing a few ride-alongs. They make great material for "other" sections.
Make your police officer resume as arresting as Dirty Harry in a Blauer Supershirt. Use this guide: +20 Best Examples of Hobbies & Interests To Put on a Resume (5 Tips)
Write a Cover Letter
"Nobody reads police officer cover letters."
That would flunk a polygraph.
Nobody reads, "Please read my police officer resume" cover letters.
Those waste more time than sitting in court on your day off.
But if you write an eye-catching cover letter, your resume can stand out like a carjacking.
First, personalize it. Use the hiring manager's name. Then find a fact you like about the department, and mention it.
Next, show how you can help. Pick the most engaging achievement from your resume, and tell the story in brief.
Dear Sergeant Murphy,
In a recent online interview, you were quoted saying the two skills you value most are conflict resolution and discipline.
I'm a former Marine and police officer at the Waylon, MS PD. In that capacity, I consistently resolved conflicts peacefully 25% better than the department average.
As an officer in your command, I could offer...
Finally, ask for a next step. That can be, "Can we schedule a call to talk about how I can help the department?"
Pro Tip: Keeping your nose clean is the first step for how to become a police officer. Past criminal activity or drug use won't show up on a police resume, but it can sink you in a polygraph.
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:
Need to really nail your police officer cover letter? See this guide: How To Write A Cover Letter [Complete Guide With Examples]
Add Contact Info to Your Police Officer Resume
You're making a big mistake.
Yes, you put the basics on your police officer resume:
- Full Name
- Updated Phone Number
- Professional Email Address
Vereno Griffin, email@example.com - 662-719-5318
Note the "professional" email address. JimmyTenBeersPartyBoy2344679@yahoo.com will never walk the thin blue line.
But add your LinkedIn. The hiring board can use it to get to know (and love) you as a person.
Then, in your profile, put more achievements that don't fit on a resume.
Not sure how to do it? Use our guide to LinkedIn profile mastery here.
Pro Tip: Don't let that frat party pic on Facebook collar your career. Use our guide to cleaning up your online presence before you send in your police resume.
Want more tips to make the best resume for a police officer you can? See our guide: How to Make a Resume: A Step-by-Step Guide (+30 Examples)
Even with a template for police resumes to work from, writing your own can be a battle. Remember these key tips:
- Connect your police resume to the job description like a suspect to a crime scene. To do that, stuff your bullet points with past accomplishments that fit.
- Just below your contact info, put a resume summary or objective.
- Prove your police officer skills. List smoking guns that show you've used the most important of them in the line of duty.
- A resume for a police officer should stand out like a siren set to wail. Do that with dedicated "other" sections.
Do you have questions on how to write a great resume for a police officer? Not sure how to describe your skills or achievements? Give us a shout in the comments! We'll answer as soon as possible.