Criminal Investigator Resume Example

A Criminal Investigator resume example and step-by-step guide by Leet Resumes.

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Written by Marc Cenedella
Leading expert on resumes
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Marc Cenedella

Marc Cenedella is a nationally recognized thought leader on careers, resume writing, job search, career management and recruiting, Marc is frequently sought out by national media organizations for his expert commentary on employment, resumes, the job search and the job market.

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Last updated on September 1, 2022
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How to Write a Criminal Investigator Resume that Gets Interviews

If there’s one career that doesn’t lend much time to talking about oneself, Criminal Investigator is a top competitor. You spend your time analyzing and searching through data, completing reports and doing a lot of research.

Since it’s usually in your best interest to keep personal details confidential, writing a resume about your career and achievements can feel pretty foreign.

Luckily, we’re here to help.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to write a resume that will get you more interviews (different from the ones you conduct for subjects and third party witnesses).

Here’s what you'll find in this article:

  • A resume template so you know what to include and where
  • A Criminal Investigator resume example so there’s a relevant guide to refer to
  • Helpful resume tips to assist you along the way

Prefer to have someone else write your resume for you?

If you’d rather get back to being the one asking questions, have Leet Resumes write a custom and professional Criminal Investigator resume for you…for free. (Tips are always appreciated.)

How to Format a Criminal Investigator Resume

Your resume has five parts:

  • Professional Headline
  • Professional Summary
  • Work Experience
  • Education
  • Keywords

Before we get started on what goes into each individual section, let’s assess the scene as a whole.

A simple resume is best.

Keep the format, structure and design elements simple on your resume. The black and white single column approach is straightforward, efficient and a preferred method to read for those who read resumes all day.

A targeted resume gets more requests.

Think of any standard investigation.

Gotcha.

There’s no such thing as a standard investigation. Every case, subject, scene and detail is different from the next. If you were to apply the same methods and techniques to every case, you’d miss a lot of evidence. You need to respond to the crime scene itself and develop a custom strategy that meets the individual needs of the case.

For resumes, we’ve done the experimenting for you and the same rule applies. When you send the same resume to every potential employer, you get fewer interview requests which means fewer job offers.

However, when you treat this resume template as a structure to be customized for each position you apply to, you’ll receive more interviews and job offers.

The five sections of your resume are like the seven steps of investigation. What you include will be responsive and targeted toward the objective of each.

Name + Contact

Start with your first and last name at the top of the page. Make it centered and slightly larger than the rest of the text using a font that’s both professional and legible.

Directly underneath, add your contact information:

  • Phone Number
  • Email Address
  • Location (city and state)

Like all things on your resume, include an email address that’s professional. As a Criminal Investigator, you deal with serious situations and handle fragile and consequential data. The last thing you need is for a potential employer to ask about your highschool email address you once thought was clever.

Instead, opt for the standard and professional firstname_lastname approach.

Professional Headline

This is the attention-grabbing tagline that sums up your career in three to five words. The objective is to make the recruiter want to read more of your resume.

Here’s a simple formula to make your headline stand out from the rest:

Flattering Adjective + Level of Experience + Job Title

Adjectives that might be a good fit for your field might be: diligent, methodical, thorough, detail-oriented, team-oriented, or trustworthy.

Next, add a word that describes your level of experience: lead, supervising, senior, junior, etc.

Finally, add your official job title: Criminal Investigator.

Professional Summary

Once your headline has captured their attention, the professional summary will highlight the reasons why you’re the best candidate for the open position.

Before jumping in, take a look at the resume example above. Note the lack of paragraphs. Your professional summary (and every other section of your resume) will only contain lists of words and short phrases.

In the first line, list all the job titles you’d accept for your next role, and be sure to include (verbatim) the exact role you’re applying for.

In the next line, list all the skills and attributes you have that qualify you for this role.

To make this even easier, take your expert research skills to visit the original job listing. The needs of your potential employer will be laid out for you in the responsibilities and qualifications.

You might even find key software and technology proficiencies you’re familiar with that they’re looking to find.

For everything that doesn’t fit in this one line, save it for the final section of the resume template: keywords.

The next two lines of your summary are completely optional. If you’re new to the force or nothing comes to mind, don’t worry about it. The first two lines are all you need to get an interview.

In line three, list your career achievements (highlights from your work experience, notable department accomplishments you were involved in, etc.).

In line four, list your awards and promotions in criminal investigation.

Tapping Out?

We get it. If you want to get back to the real work that needs to be done, hand off your resume to the experts at Leet Resumes. It’s completely free (seriously). (Though tips are always appreciated.)

Work Experience

This is the heart of the resume. If your recruiter is reading this far, you’ve done a great job at letting them know why you’re a great fit for the open Criminal Investigator role. Now it’s time to seal the deal – and don’t think that has anything to do with sharing your daily duties and responsibilities.

Start by listing your previous work history in reverse chronological order. Referring to the formatting in the resume example, add your official job title, dates of employment and previous employer.

Under each position, add a bullet point list that highlights your achievements and contributions in that specific role.

Don’t know where to start? Here are some helpful tips:

Start with Success Verbs

Success verbs replace tepid actions like “managed, operated or performed,” and replace them with actions that imply the success of the task without any additional detail. These are words like maximized, optimized, increased, reduced, exceeded, generated or accelerated.

Every bullet point in your work experience should start with a strong success verb to show the positive results you bring as a Criminal Investigator.

Use as Many Numbers as Possible

You might be wondering, what part of criminal investigation “increases” or “accelerates” anything? Fair enough.

Rather than thinking of the things you do each day as a Criminal Investigator, think of how you contribute to the department as a whole. How many cases have you contributed to? Have you made any investigation processes more efficient in your time there?

Also look into accuracy ratings, convictions, the size of your team, number of cases each year, percentage of solved cases, comparison of your work to others, and so on.

Using numbers in your resume provides a specific visual for your reader so they can quickly understand how you’ll make their department or agency better.

Add Your Promotions

Promotions show your success to potential employers through the testimony of someone else.

These promotions validate your claims above and show a recruiter that not only is your work worth rewarding, but other departments want to keep you around, too.

That’s the kind of Criminal Investigator your potential employer wants on their team.

Education

Your education section will be a walk in the park after the recording and documentation of your work experience.

Here, you’ll provide the following information:

  • Where you attended school
  • Dates of attendance
  • Degree(s) obtained
  • Honors or awards received

Unless your extracurricular activities play a direct role in your criminal investigation career, leave them out completely, along with any degrees you haven’t gotten around to finishing.

Keywords and Skills for a Criminal Investigator Resume

In the final section of your Criminal Investigator resume template, you’ll list several keywords, skills, technologies/software and certifications you have that qualify you for your targeted position.

When choosing which of your many skills to add, think of the role your recruiter is trying to fill and refer back to the original job posting if needed.

Here are some skills and keywords to get you started:

Soft Skills:

  • Critical Thinking
  • Empathy
  • High Ethical Standards
  • Excellent Communication Skills
  • Collaboration
  • Detail-Oriented

Technical Skills & Experience:

  • Criminal Investigation
  • Administrative Investigation
  • Legal Research
  • Crime Scene Analysis
  • Forensic Science
  • Criminal Legislation
  • Surveillance

Software & Technologies:

  • GrayKey
  • CommandCentral
  • PenPoint
  • Microsoft Office

Professional Certifications:

  • Certified Professional Criminal Investigator (CPCI)
  • FLETC Criminal Investigators Training Program (CITP)

Can someone just write my resume for me?

Yes. The experts behind this resume example and helpful guide will write a custom and professional Criminal Investigator resume for you. Better yet, they’ll do it for free. (Tips are welcomed and appreciated.)

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