The criminal justice field is incredibly competitive. Many people wrongly believe they have what it takes to become a federal agent, police officer, or crime scene technician. If you treat your search for criminal justice jobs seriously, your chances for success will be much higher. It is up to you to tout your accomplishments and achievements in a way that makes you stand out from other candidates.
Many criminal justice jobs are located inside federal agencies. You can search agency-specific sites for open positions or visit www.usajobs.gov for positions at a variety of agencies across the country. Applying for federal jobs is a different process than applying for jobs at private organizations. In addition to a resume, a KSA (Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities) may be required. A KSA is similar to a cover letter, but must address specific qualifications detailed in the job posting. Oral interviews, written exams, personal interviews, writing samples, and physical fitness evaluations are often part of the process too.
City police departments and state agencies usually post their criminal justice jobs on local and state government websites. Private sector criminal justice jobs are posted in newspapers, career magazines, and on the Internet. Make a list of security firms you are interested in working for. Even if they do not have open positions, go ahead and send them your resume and cover letter. They may be so impressed with your qualifications that they have you come in for an interview. The interview may put you on the top of a list for upcoming open positions.
A well-written resume is essential for a successful job search. It is the initial opinion an organization will have of you. Resumes are not intended to detail every drug bust you were involved in or provide a detailed account of every suspect you ever arrested. Potential interviewers do not have the time to read page after page of minute details. A resume should provide a brief overview of your career, highlighting specific accomplishments, education, and training programs completed. Resumes should always be customized to the specific job you are applying for. Generalizations on a resume will not prove why you are the best person for the job, but specifics will.
Once you get an interview, you are one step closer to landing a criminal justice job. An interview is your opportunity to prove why you are the only candidate that should be considered for the position. Only you can sell your abilities and achievements to an agency or department. Be proud of what you have accomplished throughout your career and do not be hesitate to tell the interviewer about it!