This is your chance to shine and sell yourself. You will have achieved great things during your time with the Police Service, so now's the time to tell your next employer all about what you've done and most importantly, what you can do for them.
It sounds obvious, but first of all, make sure you include your name, address, mobile number and an email address. If you haven't got an email address, now's the time to get one. There are plenty of free web-based services available like Yahoo and Hotmail - there are no excuses.
Personal profile section
This is your chance to grab the employer's attention. A strong statement will make them want to keep on reading and could set you aside from other applicants. Use positive language and make sure you use this space to really sell yourself.
Skills and abilities
- Use this section to tie in the skills you have with those asked for in the job description.
- List your key skills and give some brief context.
- Include any IT skills you have and your level of understanding e.g. highly competent is MS Office Word, PowerPoint and Excel.
- Provide details of any foreign languages you may have knowledge of and whether it's a basic or fluent ability.
Skills often associated with members of the Police Service:
- Strong customer focus.
- Effective team working.
- High levels of problem solving and investigating.
- Effective communicator - written and verbal, on all levels.
- Respect for diversity.
- Skilled negotiator.
- Resilience and a positive approach to work.
- Takes personal responsibility for actions.
- Leading and developing a team.
- Ability to influence positive outcomes.
Employment and Experience
- Start with your most recent position first and work backwards. If you've held many positions in the past, concentrate on those over the last four or five years.
- Include the Force you worked for, your rank (e.g. PC) and also the roles you performed within that rank (e.g. Custody Sergeant, Traffic Officer, Neighbourhood Team etc.).
- Provide the dates you held each position by month and year. If you're not sure, it's worth checking to make sure you get it right.
- Include some brief details about what your role entailed and your key achievements. If you did something that made a difference, here's your chance to share the details. Think about using active verbs like 'led', initiated', 'produced', 'organised', 'achieved' etc.
- Use bullet points if you can, so your CV can be scan read without missing any of the important details.
This is your number one sales tool. Get yours up to date or start one from scratch and you'll be ready to apply for your next role.
A good CV needs to be positive and make an impact. So you need to make sure yours is presented clearly and is easy to read. One way to do this is to use bold headings and bullet points.
Some general rules:
- Keep it to no more than two pages in length.
- Use good quality A4 paper.
- Check for errors and spelling mistakes. And then check it again.
- Make sure you tailor your skills and experience to match the job you're applying for.
- Cut the waffle and stick to the facts. Short sentences and bullet points make more impact.
Have a look at out our example CV for some ideas.
Need more help?
Take a look online, there are plenty of sample CVs available to inspire you. You can also find lots of useful information on the National Careers Service website.
Producing a covering letter
You should always send a covering letter with your CV. It gives you the opportunity to explain why you're the right person for the job and allows you to add more detail than your CV can provide.
Your letter should:
- Be addressed to the right person.
- Reference the job you're applying for and where you heard about it.
- Be typed in the same style as your CV (unless the advertisement asks for a hand written letter).
- Show that you have researched the company, its products and the marketplace.
- Use positive statements.
- Reinforce the skills you can bring to the role. Make sure these are matched to the job description.
- Explain why you want the job.
- Close well, perhaps saying that you look forward to seeing them in the future.
- Checked carefully for errors. To be sure ask someone else to check it too - it's very easy to miss your own mistakes.
Don't be tempted to use the same covering letter for each job you apply for. You'll make a more positive impact if every letter is tailored to the job.
Need more help?
You can find lots of useful information on the National Careers Service website.
Education, Training & Qualifications
- Start with the last qualification you achieved and work backwards.
- Give education or course start dates by year. If you're not sure, take the time to check and get it right.
- Include any external and internal Police Service courses you've attended.
This is a 'nice to include' section, if you have the space. Use it as an opportunity to showcase your personality and if you can, try and tie it in with the skills requested for the job.
Include details of your hobbies and interests, and any voluntary roles.