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Police Officer Resume: Sample & Complete Guide [+20 Examples]

Tom Gerencer
Career Writer
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You're about to see a perfect police officer resume sample. Just consider this first—

 

There's a police officer shortage. You can scribble your resume on an empty ammo box and get a job.

 

Well, hold up a second.

 

You don't want to get slotted into lifetime college work as a clown for drunken kids. Or win the permanent hospital-transfer detail.

 

You want to wow the hiring board, get high-level work, and earn a fat police officer salary.

 

For that, you need a police officer resume that stands out like a flashing light bar.

 

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.

 

Here’s a sample resume for police officer made using our resume 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 tips and right vs. wrong examples while writing your resume. See +20 resume templates and create your resume here.

 

police officer resume sample

Police Officer Resume Example - See more templates and create your resume here.

 

 

1

What's the Best Format for a Police Officer Resume?

 

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]

 

Want to make sure your resume will hook every recruiter and get you that interview? Get our free checklist and learn what makes a job-winning resume: 46 Things You Need To Do Before You Send Your Resume.

 

2

How to Write a Resume 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.

 

Police Officer Resume Summary Examples [Resume Summary]

 

Only one of the examples below will score a healthy police officer salary.

 

Right
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.
Wrong
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.

 

Two Entry-Level Police Officer Resume Objective Examples

 

Spot the difference in these two objectives for law enforcement resumes.

 

Wrong
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.
right
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

 

Our resume builder (you can create your resume here) will give you tips and examples on how to write your resume professional summary section. Or any section for that matter. You can copy the examples to your resume, customize, and save a lot of time.

 

Inside our resume builder, you’ll find expert tips and examples for your resume summary.

 

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)

 

3

How to 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.

 

right

Police Sergeant

Waylon, MS Police Department

2011 - 2017

  • Led a busy suburban department of 22 police officers. Implemented a "people-first" training program that decreased turnover by 25%.
  • Presided over a 15% reduction in the number of serious crimes reported.
  • Upped police officer training, resulting in 20% faster response times to crimes.

 

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:

 

wrong

Police Sergeant

Waylon, MS Police Department

2011 - 2017

  • In charge of the Waylon, MS Police Department.
  • Served as sergeant for 22 men.
  • Responsible for police officer trainings.
  • Tasked with reducing crime rate.

 

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.

 

Police Officer Resume Examples with No Experience

 

Check out these entry-level police officer resume samples with no experience:

 

right

Relevant Experience

Cadet, 2017

Jackson Police Department

  • Recognized by the sergeant for conflict resolution skills.
  • Noticed and reported a public gas leak that could have caused an explosion.

 

Security Specialist

US Marine Corps

2012 - 2016

  • Led a team of 20 Marines. Attained a 10% increase in promotions.
  • Maintained zero losses in 2 years of managing equipment worth $250,000.

 

Sales Associate

Greely Ford

2011 - 2012

  • Interacted with the public on a daily basis.
  • Commended by management for conflict management skills.
Wrong

Law Enforcement Experience: None yet, since I just recently graduated from the academy.

 

Other Experience

  • Sales
  • Military

 

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

 

4

Is Your Education Section Criminal? It Might Be

 

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.
  • Degree.

But then add so much more.

 

Two Sample Police Officer Resume Education Sections

 

The first of our police officer resume examples is DOA.

 

Wrong

Jackson Police Academy, 2017

BA in Criminal Justice, Mississippi State University

2005 - 2009

  • Completed all core coursework.
  • GPA 3.3

 

That basically says, "I went to school." It borders on felonious.

 

But check out this next sample police officer resume education section.

 

right

Jackson Police Academy

2017 Jan - May

  • Commended by professors for self-defense skills.
  • Scored top of class for weapons training.

 

BA in Criminal Justice, Mississippi State University

2005 - 2009

  • Excelled in criminology and procedure coursework.
  • President, Student Government Association.
  • NCAA Football Linebacker, all four years.

 

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]

 

5

How to 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.

 

Here's how:

 

Sample Police Officer Resume Skills Section

 

Check out these police officer resume examples. The first one is so typical.

 

Wrong
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:

 

Right
  • Patrolled a large suburban beat on foot and in a patrol vehicle.
  • Resolved conflicts peacefully 25% better than the department average.
  • Recognized by superiors for error-free reports.

  

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

Police Officer Resume Skills

Soft Skills

Hard Skills

Empathy

Legal Knowledge

Communication

Weapons Skills

Conflict Resolution

Self Defense

Physical Fitness

Procedure

Adaptability

Arrest

Critical Thinking

CPR and First Aid

Detail Oriented

Computer Skills

Interpersonal Skills

Writing

Mental Toughness

MS Office

Decision Making

Driving Skills

 

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)

 

6

How to 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 Officer Resume Examples [Other Sections]

 

wrong
  • I like first-person shooter games.
  • I have three cats.
  • My friends say I'm a hard worker.

 

 Whoa. Don't tase me, bro.

 

What we need is examples that show passion and reliability.

 

right

Certifications

  • Incident Command Certification, FEMA
  • CPR and First Aid Instructor Certification, American Red Cross.

 

Additional Activities

  • Member, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association.
  • Guest speaker on active shooters, Biloxi Gun Show 2016.

 

Volunteer Work

  • Driver, Meals on Wheels 2011-2017.
  • Volunteer 2x monthly for local Boys Club Girls Club.

  

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)

 

7

Here's the Most Common Myth About Cover Letters

 

"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 your cover letter in our resume builder here. Here's what it may look like:

 

matching set of resume and cover letter

See more templates and create your resume and cover letter here.

  

Need to really nail your police officer cover letter? See this guide: How To Write A Cover Letter [Complete Guide With Examples]

 

8

How to 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

 

Like this:

 

Vereno Griffin, verenopgriffin@gmail.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)

 

Key Takeaway

 

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.

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Author
Tom Gerencer
Tom Gerencer is a full-time writer in the fields of personal finance and careers. He's been sharing expert advice on all stages of the recruitment process at the Zety career website for more than two years.