Police Officer Resume Example & Writing Guide

A police officer resume represents a concise assortment of your skills, experiences, and competencies that show that you're qualified for the job.
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Police Officer

Crafting a police officer resume that stands out feels a lot like doing proper detective work. You need to think of the bigger picture while pointing out all the important details. If you do the preparations properly, your document will grab attention like emergency lights in the middle of the night.

Whether you’re a fresh graduate straight out of the academy or a seasoned officer on the job market looking for something new, this article is for you. We’ll delve into the intricacies of resume writing to help you create an impeccable document, so without further ado, let’s jump right in!

Key Takeaways

  • One of the best formats for a police officer resume is the chronological one, as it methodically lists your previous jobs and accomplishments.

  • To get a visually appealing resume, you want a professional layout with a font that is easy to read and sections that are optimally organized.

  • The professional history section is typically the most important in a resume, and it should be the biggest one.

  • You should only list those skills that are relevant to the position that you’re applying for.

  • Write and submit a tailored cover letter that matches your resume to maximize your chances of impressing the recruiter.

How to Format a Police Officer Resume Properly

Popular resume formats

A proper format will organize the contents of your police officer resume in an optimal way. The benefits of this are two-fold. On the one hand, it helps recruiters quickly and effortlessly find what they are looking for. On the other hand, it can make your resume compatible with the applicant tracking software (ATS), helping you pass the initial scan.

With that in mind, one of the best and most commonly used formats for your resume is the chronological one. It places your most recent jobs and accomplishments first before listing the rest in reverse chronological order.

Entry-level police officers can look into the functional resume format since it’s great for candidates who lack a work history. This format puts skills front and center to shift focus from experience to abilities. Its downside is that it might not be ATS-compatible.

Another format to consider is the combination (hybrid) resume format. This one is perfect for candidates who have employment gaps or those with many years of experience (e.g., for a retired police officer resume). It combines the previous two formats to emphasize skills while backing them up with relevant accomplishments in reverse chronological order.

Police Officer Resume Layout

A resume layout refers to the way your document looks. To maximize your chances with recruiters, you want a clean and professional resume that is easy to read. Here are some tips to help you achieve that:

Police Officer Resume Layout

  • Keep your resume one page long. In specific cases, and if you have decades of experience, you can go for two or even three pages.

  • Choose an appropriate font for your resume. Avoid exaggerated and stylized typefaces and go for simple serif or sans-serif fonts like Arial, Helvetica, or Times New Roman.

  • Set the font size between 10 and 12 pt for regular text. Section headings should be 2–4 pt bigger.

  • Adjust margins to at least 1 inch on all sides.

  • Line spacing should be 1.0 or 1.15.

Police Officer Resume Sections

There are two types of sections you should have in your police officer resume, and these are:

Two Types of Resume Sections

  1. Mandatory sections, which represent the core of the document

  2. Optional sections, which can add more value to your resume

There are five mandatory sections, and they are:

Resume Mandatory Sections

  1. Contact information

  2. Resume summary or objective

  3. Work experience

  4. Education

  5. Skills

After that, you can include as many optional sections as you want, as long as they are relevant to the job that you’re applying for and can fit into one page. Here are some sections to consider:

Resume Optional Sections

  • Awards

  • Personal Projects

  • Certifications

  • Volunteer Work

  • Languages

  • Hobbies & Interests

If you’re only starting your resume writing journey and all of this looks daunting, we encourage you to try out our resume builder. It’s a software solution that automates the process by featuring ready-made templates you can adjust with a click of a button.

On top of that, they all have professional formats and layouts, so you just need to input your details in predetermined spots and download a finished product.

Police Officer Resume Template

Before we go into details about each section, here’s a police officer resume template from our galleries to help you visualize a complete document:

Police Officer Resume Template

Name and Surname

Phone number: 000-000-0000 | Email: namesurname@gmail.com | Location: City, State

[Adjective] [your job title] with [years of experience, if applicable] in [your area of expertise, if applicable] looking for a [position] job at [company name]. Eager to apply [relevant skills] gained through [work/volunteer/other experience] to help [company name] [mention what you can do for the company].

Work Experience

Most Recent/Current Job Title Company City, State

[Start date] — [End date]

  • For recent jobs, use 5-6 bullet points to list your top achievements and responsibilities

  • Use action verbs to make your responsibilities and achievements stand out

  • Add numbers to quantify your achievements

Previous Job Title Company City, State

[Start date] — [End date]

  • For recent jobs, use 5-6 bullet points to list your top achievements and responsibilities

  • Use action verbs to make your responsibilities and achievements stand out

  • Add numbers to quantify your achievements

Oldest Job Title Company City, State

[Start date] — [End date]

  • For older jobs, use 2-3 bullet points to list your top achievements and responsibilities

  • Use action verbs to make your responsibilities and achievements stand out

  • Add numbers to quantify your achievements


[Degree] in [Major][University/college name][Start date] - [Graduation date]


Soft Skills

  • Skill #1

  • Skill #2

  • Skill #3

  • Skill #4

  • Skill #5

Hard Skills

  • Skill #1

  • Skill #2

  • Skill #3

  • Skill #4

  • Skill #5

Additional Sections

  • Add any relevant additional sections (languages, licenses, publications, hobbies, etc.)

The Best Way to Add Contact Information to Your Police Officer Resume

Contact information is a straightforward section where you should simply list the following details in the header of your resume:

Mandatory Contact Information

  • Your name

  • Professional title

  • Phone number

  • Email address

Optional bits of information include your location (but only city and state) and relevant social platforms, like LinkedIn.

Let’s see that in an example:

Contact Information Section Example

Claude Baker Police Officer + 954 746 4321 claude.baker@example.com Sunrise, FL linkedin.com/in/claudebaker

Accuracy is paramount in this section. A single misplaced character renders your phone number or email address useless.

You also want to avoid adding irrelevant details, like unrelated social media accounts. Finally, don’t add sensitive personal information (e.g., age, gender, photo, etc.), as this might result in your resume being discarded.

How to Craft a Police Officer Resume Objective/Summary

unique skills for resume

You should write your objective or summary so that it’s brief and attention-grabbing. Think of it as a short description of a police officer resume; the goal is to give the reader a glimpse of what you’re capable of and persuade them to keep reading.

In essence, you want to highlight your key strengths in 2–4 sentences.

If you’re an entry-level candidate, a police officer resume objective can help you emphasize your skills, drive, and career goals. On the flip side, seasoned veterans like police sergeants and experienced officers should write a summary to point out a couple of key achievements.

Entry-Level Police Officer Resume Objective

Let’s start with a well-written example of a police officer resume objective that highlights their skills and goals while also leveraging some accomplishments from relevant previous employment:

Good Example

Resourceful recent graduate with a BSc in Criminal Justice seeking an entry-level position at Sunrise Police Department. Extensive knowledge of the law and public safety. While working as a security officer, collaborated with the police department to assist in recovering more than $100K in stolen goods. Looking to help the community on the road to becoming a senior officer.

Now let’s compare that with the following poorly written example that lacks any concrete details about the candidate’s qualifications:

Bad Example

Former security officer with a degree looking to join the police department and get my first real job.

Accomplished Police Officer Resume Summary

A strong police officer resume summary should include your years in the field and a couple of outstanding results that can impress recruiters right off the bat.

Here’s a good example:

Good Example

Adept police officer with more than 7 years of experience and a proven track record in law enforcement looking for a senior position at Tampa Police Department. Notable accomplishments include using X-Ways Forensics to combat cybercrime with a 93% success rate. Proficient in de-escalation techniques, achieving a 49% decrease in firearm usage.

If you omit the fundamentals, you’ll end up with an uninspiring summary, like in the next example:

Bad Example

Experienced police officer looking for a new job to serve the community.

Police Officer Resume Professional Experience

Professional experience is the vital section that recruiters often examine the most. Let’s find out how you can make it outstanding.

General Tips

If you’re using the chronological resume format, you want to list the positions you previously worked in reverse-chronologically, starting with the latest one. Here are the details to include for each job:

Professional Experience Mandatory Details

  • Job title

  • Institution’s name

  • Dates of employment

  • Achievements and results

As you can see, instead of filling your police officer resume with duties and everyday tasks, you should focus on distinguished accomplishments and outstanding results. That will set you apart from all the other candidates with similar work experience.

Here are the guidelines on how you can accomplish that:

Professional Experience Guidelines

  • Use bullet points instead of blocks of text. They are much easier to read and convey a lot of information in a concise format. Typically, you should have 3–5 bullet points per each previous job.

  • Quantify the results with numbers and statistics. They add measurable value to otherwise unsubstantiated claims, making them prominent and concrete.

  • Leverage action verbs and power words to make this section (and your entire police officer resume) stand out.

Police Officer With Little Experience

Crafting a police officer resume with little to no experience means you should leverage other activities for your work history section. This includes cadet experience during your training or internship, volunteer work where you’ve used interpersonal skills relevant to the job of a police officer, non-police jobs that require police qualities, and more.

Here’s an example where a candidate used their past job as a security officer:

Police Officer With Little Experience Example

Work Experience

Security Officer 312 Secure Solutions Inc. Portland, OR

April 2021–Current

  • Increased the team’s responsiveness by 15% through collaboration with local law enforcement.

  • Conceptualized and implemented a robust reporting system to increase efficiency and reduce reporting times by 35%.

  • Performed regular on-foot and vehicle patrols over a 50-acre construction site, reducing incidents by 21% compared to the previous year.

Experienced Police Officer

As an experienced police officer, you want to highlight that you’re an accomplished, multi-skilled professional. This includes showing a variety of abilities that extend beyond police-specific prowess.

Let’s see that in an example:

Experienced Police Officer Example

Work Experience

Police Officer Texas Police Department Dallas, TX

February 2018–June 2023

  • Collaborated with community leaders to conceptualize a collective initiative that led to a 35% reduction in neighborhood crime rates.

  • Achieved a 93% closure rate in more than 170 criminal investigations, including drug trafficking, theft, and assault.

  • Received an “Officer of the Year” award for 2019 and 2021.

  • Developed a de-escalation training program and implemented it department-wide, helping decrease use-of-force instances by up to 27%.

Police Officer Resume Education Section

The education section of your police officer resume adds credibility to your competence. Still, it should be brief and factual to leave more space for your experience. In general, it’s enough to include your highest degree, along with the institution that issued it and your years of attendance.

Here’s an example:

Police Officer Resume Education Section Example


Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice Community College of Denver, Denver, CO 2019–2021

Police Officer Resume Skills

A police officer resume skills section should be a simple list of your abilities. However, there are certain steps you can take to turn this part of your resume from average to exceptional by:

Police Officer Resume Skills Tips

  • Researching the company that you’re applying to and their job ad to figure out what they want in candidates. That will help you list the relevant police officer skills that you know recruiters will be looking for.

  • Including a healthy mix of hard skills and soft skills, but list them separately due to their differences.

  • Mentioning some of your most prominent skills throughout the rest of your resume. For instance, you can add a skill next to a relevant achievement in the work history section to make it concrete.

Police Officer Hard Skills

Hard skills are career-specific and often mandatory to apply for the job in the first place. Here are some that you can add to your police officer resume:

Police Officer Hard Skills Example

  • Self-defense

  • Firearms handling

  • Legal knowledge

  • Search and seizure

  • Incident reports

Police Officer Soft Skills

Being a good police officer is all about having valuable soft skills. Some of the best ones that you can add to your resume include:

Police Officer Soft Skills Example

Police Officer Resume: Other Sections

resume illustration with arrow keys

Optional sections can transform an average resume into an exceptional one, as long as you add them after you’ve already included mandatory parts.


Awards are a showcase of excellence—they demonstrate exceptional bravery and service. Adding them to a resume communicates to potential employers that you’re an outstanding professional who goes above and beyond the call of duty.

Personal Projects

Personal projects on a police officer resume demonstrate creativity and initiative. They show that you’re a driven individual who has goals and aspirations that extend beyond regular work hours. Plus, this section is perfect for entry-level candidates as it can make up for a lack of professional history.


Certifications are concrete proof of valuable skills. They are the evidence that you’ve attended specialized training, such as CPR, advanced weapons handling, cybercrime investigation, and more. Some job ads can also make certain certifications mandatory, in which case you must showcase them on your resume.

Volunteer Work

Volunteer work displays motivation to help the community and emphasizes some of the foundational values that police officers should have. Besides that, it also underlines the candidate’s willingness to help the community.


Communication skills are paramount for police officers, and proficiency in a second (or even third) language can significantly improve your chances of getting the job. That’s why you should list any language skills that you have, starting with the language you’re most proficient in. You should also use a proficiency scale to determine your level of competence.

Hobbies & Interests

Hobbies and interests provide insight into who you are as a person outside of work. It can also indicate some valuable soft skills, like leadership, management, teamwork, communication, and more.

Do I Need a Cover Letter as a Police Officer?

matching cover letter and resume template

While a cover letter usually isn’t mandatory, submitting it can vastly improve your odds with recruiters. Simply taking the time to write this document signals that you’re a dedicated and hardworking individual.

On top of that, you can use a police officer cover letter to supplement your resume. Include details about your motivation, drive, skills, and accomplishments that you didn’t get the chance to talk about, and you’ll likely stand out among the competition.

3 Expert Strategies for Writing a Police Officer Resume

Let’s wrap it up with a couple of pro tips and expert strategies that will help elevate your police officer resume:

Police Officer Resume Tips

  1. Certain words in your police officer resume act as keywords for the ATS. Elements like your job title and skills should match the requirements from the job ad, as the scanning software is likely set up to look for them.

  2. One of the best formats to use when submitting a soft copy of your police officer resume is PDF. It maintains its layout regardless of the device that it’s viewed on. However, a job ad may require a specific digital format, so it’s important to do research.

  3. If you’re an entry-level candidate with a modest work history, you can put more emphasis on your education. You can add a bullet list of academic achievements underneath your degree, which includes everything from a high GPA to relevant coursework, extracurricular activities, personal projects, and more.

Before we finish the article, here is a professionally done police officer resume example to help you write yours.

Closing Thoughts

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates job growth for police officers and detectives at an average rate of 3%. That’s why you want to use every weapon in your arsenal to get ahead of the competition, and is there anything better to arm yourself with than a well-written police officer resume?

Just remember that this document isn’t just about listing your duties and responsibilities. It’s about your knowledge, experience, drive, and passion.

So, maintain a professional tone while listing your biggest accomplishments, but don’t forget to let a bit of personality and devotion to community service shine through. That way, you’ll get an interview in no time!

Henry Garrison
Henry Garrison
Senior Content Writer
Henry Garrison is a senior content writer, but he is also a guitarist, a baseball fan, and a family man. He has years of experience in the industry, and he loves challenging himself and thinking outside the box. His passion is writing high-quality content that helps thousands of people land their dream job! He has had his fair share of editing content too, and loves to help out everyone in the team.

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